Saturday, November 3, 2012
Heart to Heart
“You ‘belong’ in this moment, so does everything else. If you have resistance to what is, you will not feel as if you yourself can belong, relax and be free.”
As the Buddha said long ago, “Don’t believe everything you think.” Maybe what he meant is that we think one way at one moment and then perhaps the thought changes in the very next moment. Thoughts are not fixed. We are more than our thoughts even though at times we feel that we are completely defined by them. Then these thoughts get our bodies responding, and before long, we are experiencing difficult emotions and feelings. These too, the feelings and emotions, are highly mutable. In love, we feel the cascading wave of emotions, feelings, like upheavals, peaks, valleys, elation, and crashes. Most of us have been there, we are in love, then we get hurt for one reason or another, and we feel like we cannot breathe another breath or take another step or eat another meal or wake up another day. But we do. And the love changes from that state of intensity and passion to a memory. It fades. The passion fades and that is a good thing.
The reason we don’t understand this is because we are ignorant, ignorant to the fact that everything is much more amorphous and empty than we realize even though this emptying and transforming keeps happening over and over and over again throughout our lives. We just don’t believe it even though it is our experience day in and day out, moment by moment. We want to find a fixed point, a safe haven, a truth north, a resting place. The only sure resting place is the moment we find ourselves in, the breath and the relaxation that comes from breathing and dissolving outward with our breath into the next eternal moment of now. What is neat though is that through time, experience, the living of our life, we are capable of gaining insight and wisdom. We are capable of remembering that the emptiness is a place of wisdom, joy and wonder, a place of change and transformation.
We really are capable of changing since by being the living organisms we are, we by definition are changing at all times, moment to moment. It is our thoughts that resist change and in turn create difficulty for our bodies leading to various emotional states like fear and resistance and joy and elation.
The ego really wants to protect itself, maintain a state of stasis; it tries to accomplish this by holding on with stories and explanations. The fact is that so much suffering comes with the clinging and grasping. In the practice of letting go, we find some relief, some contentment, and dare I say even joy. For some, this joy comes through various practices of mindfulness like meditation or yoga or walking or music, for others it comes through prayer and contemplation and union with others. For others still, it comes from loving, loving oneself deeply enough to love another, to reach across the empty space between two beings, and transmit love into another’s heart.
This heart transmission seems to be a rather rare occurrence but need not be. And it is not predicated upon sexual or physical intimacy but that element could also be present. The fact that we open our heart to another, which is alive, raw and pulsating very actively in our chests, offers a chance for the other to do the same. The other will not always necessarily open up or open the exact way we may have, still an invitation is extended and it takes great courage to even move to this offering place in our busy, frenetic world of electronic communication and distraction. I feel the risks are worth the rewards of true heart to heart transmission.
In certain wisdom teachings, it is said that “Desire to sharpen the sword will make it dull.” For me this means that the desire to change the moment will cause me to actually miss the moment. The focus on something missing, or it could be better, or even the focus on something, like a text message, or smart phone, detracts from being present to the transmission of the moment, to the transmission of someone else’s pure heart.
Sometimes we get so swept by our ego, our habitual mind and we only want what and whom we want that we miss the love right in front of us. How daring to set aside our preconceived notions of how someone must look, sound or be. We want the one who wants someone else and we are consequently not noticing the one who has opened their heart to ours. Why is there so much fear to love, or let ourselves be loved or be with someone we want to love?
There are no assurances that love will be forever even when you think that gosh at this stage of life, I know who I am, I know who I am not, I know what is important to me, and what I can let go, realizing that companionship is worth more than controlling the situation and having things just the way we think we might want them. I have this sense, maybe a wisdom, that being in companionship with a partner now as our life turns towards middle age and the next half of life, that true companionship is built on similar temperaments and sensibilities, also a wide berth to the relationship at times and other times a sense of both people wanting to lean into the intimacy and life wisdom and lessons a relationship offers.
Similar sensibility and temperament and spending time doing simple things that are the most meaningful like a simple walk in the park or lying back on the blades of green grass staring up at the clouds and sky while reaching out to find one another’s hand. Cooking food together and finding one another between stirring and simmering and swaying our bodies together to a love song. Why there are such barriers in our culture to falling love in the most vulnerable and true sense of the word and opening our hearts to the journey of where this fall may take us has been a curiosity of mine for my entire adult life. I sense it has to do with the truth that so many of us haven’t become familiar with our own minds and hearts and are simply afraid to transmit all the beauty and basic human goodness that is innately and essentially who we all are. It is worth the risk though to recognize first our own self as dear and beloved and then to extend that same compassion and kindness to the other who we finally come to realize is standing right in front of us.