"Mindfulness and Meditation allow us to open our hearts, relax our bodies, and clear our minds enough to experience the vast, mysterious, sacred reality of life directly. With Practice we come to know for ourselves that eternity is available in each moment.

Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call:
Musings on Life and Practice
by a Longtime Student of Meditation

Friday, February 14, 2014

What's Love Got to Do with It?

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind
 and with all your strength.  Love your neighbor as yourself.”
-- Jesus

"Hatred never ceases by hatred. It is healed by love alone. This is the ancient and eternal law."
-- Buddha

An octogenarian friend of mine told me the other day that she was making Valentine's Day cards again this year to send out to some of her special friends.  My first thought was, "how cool is that?"  Since she is quite a collage artist, I must admit my next thoughts were, " I hope I make the cut. I'd love to get one."

Love to get to get one?? Hmmmm.

I'm not much of a linguist so I don't know how it plays out in other languages, but it seems that the word love in English is amazingly imprecise.  Covering the entire gamut from a "greater love hath no man than to lay down his life" style of sacrificial selflessness to the most possessive and jealous form of desirous grasping imaginable, the word love casts a net that seems to include both the enlightened activity of the Bodhisattva Green Tara and painful flailing of folks ensnared by the Green Eyed Monster.  Yet as the quotes above indicate, we have it on "good authority" that the key to the Real Deal is Love.  So, what the hell does that word really mean? (Ekkk.  There's another one: the word mean!  Its "meaning" runs the gamut from ultimate signficance to just being nasty, from the Golden Mean to the Blue Meanies.  Damn. I mean give me a break here. LOL)

All this, I think, underscores the plight we find ourselves in as human beings.  Conditioned as we are in a world that stresses the importance of thinking, much of our awareness seems to be tied up in the stream of thoughts that dominate our awareness at any one point in time.  Although it's obvious that words can be quite useful, it's also quite clear that words can be pretty sloppy when it comes to gaining clarity.   

One of my Zen teachers once said, "Every time I open my mouth, 
I'm lying!"  Was he telling the truth -- or lying?


The Practice actually may provide a means for addressing that question.  

The cultivation of Mindfulness offers us an opportunity to widen and deepen the scope of our awareness to include a quality of consciousness that doesn't rely primarily on words, or even emotions.  We come to experience for ourselves an entire realm that most of us have been conditioned to ignore, suppress or repress as we learned how to be "normal" in a materialistic society.  With Practice, we see that we are capable of becoming attuned to a finer range of sensibilities, that we are actually capable of deep levels of intuition, empathy and understanding.  Giving ourselves the opportunity to meditate regularly can be the key. 

As we gently notice that we are thinking, as we open to and carefully explore even the more unsettling emotions, returning to the simplicity of our breath or other meditation object again and again, we find that there is a quality of consciousness available to us that is fundamentally kind, clear, and compassionate.   Often experienced as a "calm exhilaration", it seems to me that Mindfulness could, perhaps, better be described as Heartfulness.  A warm Presence, it brings with it both a sense of knowing and a sense of wonder.  Expansive, spacious, accepting, affirming, I believe it to be our True Nature.

So, what's Love got to do with it?  

You tell me!


Anonymous said...

Love the quote from Rumi! One of my very favorites.

your sis said...

Thank you Lance...

Stephanie said...

I "love" Heartfulness as an alternative to Mindfulness! Not that Mindfulness is an inadequate word, but Heartfulness gets me to appreciate the difference between the two words better.