Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nourishing the Heart

How then shall I nourish my heart? This is the only activity necessary in order to completely offer all my heart to the Blessed Tara. Turning from the cocooning in sense pleasures that was habitually indulged; I now turn toward a way to feed my heart.

This morning I returned to Shantideva in No Time to Lose by Pema Chodron, Chapter 7 which describes heroic perseverance in the intention to increase one's bodhichitta mind. That's it I saw!

The heart that I want to completely turn my self towards and the bodhichitta mind are the same. So it is by listening to oneself as situations arise and offering the heart mind into the situation instead of the conventional mind. It is the mind of surrender, service, yielding to another, instead of securing the space, a station, a recognition for oneself. It is when the response is loving kindness instead of judgement, or patience instead of ones agendas being met.

When I feel into this shift, I can feel how responding from mindfulness, generosity, patience, discipline, willingness to serve, taking into consideration what is really needed by the other; and offering it if I have it to give, brings light out of my heart and joy resides. If I fall into self absorption then I lean towards the good old sense pleasures to alter my inner experience, because the joy is lost with the focus of self.

I noticed a small example of this when J knocked on my door a few times asking each time for something more. Finally she knocked and asked if I knew where the box of small white nails was. I said, "no". Then I realized my scrooge like behavior. Even though I didn't know where the box was, in fact I had just pulled two small white nails out of the wall. I experienced the tightness in my heart with my first action/reaction and I saw I had another response possible. I felt resistant to actually giving them to her, indeed quite miserly. I saw that I didn't want to keep serving her like this, I begrudged all the interruptions; and then grace moved --- I reached for the nails, walked over to her and lovingly handed her the two I had just pulled out of the wall. Instantly my heart recovered!

What about all those who don't even know this possibility exists? What about all those who are stuck in the one way reaction of tightness, and feeling put upon by another? How much suffering is that! How old is that path, that pattern of self absorption? It is as old as we humans are, I guess.

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