"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

Saturday, April 2, 2022

A Love Affair

“When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. 
You're able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open.
 ― Pema Chödrön, 
Practicing Peace in Times of War

“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be 
filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.”
Thich Nhat Hanh  

As I've mentioned before, here and elsewhere, I think the Hippies actually had it right.  It IS all about Peace, Love, and Freedom.

Although most of us were too young and crazy to pull it off at the time, many of us had been to the mountain top to be touched by the One Love.  
During that era's Collective Kensho,
we saw the Real Deal. 

But seeing that-- and even believing that -- isn't enough.

The task of freeing ourselves to BE a peaceful and loving human being became the Mission -- and we quickly learned that this is no mean feat.  It takes deep commitment, effort, discipline, courage, persistence --  and patience.  Lots and lots of patience.

It takes Practice.

In the Buddhist, Hindu, and Taoist worlds the term "Love" isn't generally used to refer to the Ultimate State of Being. They approach the Ineffable with different concepts and understandings. I think that is actually helpful to us Westerners.  We are pretty sloppy with the word "love". 

In English, what we call "love" has a wide range of meaning.  Love can be the warm glow that emerges from the ethereal domain of unconditional, unselfish agape -- or it can be the fiery emotion that erupts from the nether realms of green eyed monsters and wrathful, jealous gods.  It's pretty clear that "I love you so much that I'll kill anyone who looks at you, and then you,"  isn't what Jesus and Buddha had in mind when they taught about Love, right?  
So, what is Love?

Love Is More Than A Four-Letter Word  

Like any of the other words used to describe the Ultimate Mystery of Being, the word Love can't capture it's essence.  Love, like God, is beyond words.  Yet, our hearts have the capacity to know it.  

Love is the quality of consciousness that emerges as we become truly Present to Life.  When we are able to embrace our experience, moment to moment, with an open, non-judgmental, unbiased, clear awareness, we resonate with the One Love that is within and beyond all that exists and doesn't exist.  We become Love.  

In those moments that our minds are unfettered by the graspings and aversions of our ego-nature, those moments that are free from "what's in it for me?",  Love becomes our natural state.  True Love is simply being.  

It is the ultimate Connectivity.

Just Sit On It, Buddhy!

It may seem preposterous to imagine that taking the time and making the effort to Just Sit Still could ultimately lead to the realization of True Love, but that's the deal for some of us. The process of being Present to one's own breath, bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts, and consciousness opens the Gateless Gate to our True Nature. 

It's just that simple.

Of course, simple doesn't mean easy.  A regular meditation practice takes commitment and courage.  It takes the willingness to face yourself -- and all that you've denied and repressed -- openly and honestly.  It takes getting out of your head and feeling what's in your heart.  It takes facing and embracing the good, the bad, and the ugly in yourself and others.

Again and again and again.

Yet, with persistent and gentle effort, Mindfulness emerges and deepens.  With Practice, our minds clear and our hearts open to embrace and explore all the patterns of feeling, thought and action that operate to diminish and distort our ability to be peaceful and loving.  Over time, both on and off the meditation cushion, we see clearly that the conditioned patterns of grasping and pushing away, and the resultant pains, fears, and resentments that emerge in ourselves and in others, are the root cause of human suffering.   

We also come to see clearly that, like everything else, those feelings are just energies, fundamentally insubstantial.  They are just clouds passing through the infinity of a vast, clear sky.  

This changes everything.

There, in the embrace of Mindfulness, Reality asserts itself.  All that has appeared to separate us from ourselves, from one another, and from the vast and mysterious Universal Oneness is seen for what it is.  Like all conditioned existence it is fleeting, ephemeral.  Seeing that clearly, it's power over us dissolves. 

With this experience, it's not just belief anymore.  We see clearly that we are lovable and capable of love -- because Love is our True Nature! Although we are still subject to the sometimes distressing mayhem of the human condition, we know that we can rest in peace.  Free to be who we truly are, life itself becomes a love affair. 

It just takes Practice.

Originally posted, April 24, 2015.  Revised.

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