February 26 True Love

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This Monday Mary will facilitate. She shares:


Welcome to Monday evening with the Opening Heart Mindfulness Community. This evening we will read the Five Mindfulness Trainings together and then focus our attention on the Third Mindfulness Training: True Love.


Tonight gives me the opportunity to share the delightful and beautiful bicycle story from Tricycle online collection, "Love Becomes Her" by Nicole Daedone. I referred to it last week during dharma sharing time. Click here to read it. May it enrich your day and bring a smile to your face.


I think about the times in my life when my sexual misconduct brought suffering to others...and then, sooner or later, bingo, the suffering came rolling back on to me... call it karma or cause and effect or realize it's likely due to us all being so interconnected. What hurts someone directly or indirectly has reverberations which may land immediately or sometime in the future. This is not hypothesis but my experience. 'Treat others as I want to be treated' quietly resounds over and over in my mind.


In this third training, rather than lingering on what not to do (the big potholes on the road of life that block true love), I find myself gravitating to the final sentences that suggest what actually to do:


"Seeing that body and mind are in unison, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness which are the four basic elements of true love, for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, I know that I will continue beautifully in the future."


As the bicycle story illustrates, it's common to fall into the trap of applying our cultural materialistic tendencies to all matters including spirituality and love. We keep looking outside ourselves for sources of our happiness and love:


"We believe that love is to be found within another person. But, in truth, love is found in the animating quality of our attention... when we use our attention to touch and open the deeper truth in a person, we not only catalyze the experience of love, we become love. The source of love is revealed to be within us; we no longer have to go looking for it somewhere outside.


What made any bike that Maria possessed seem so desirable was the very love she lavished on it. The glow was not in the bike itself, but in her relationship to it. Like bicycles, people become more desirable when we are attentive to them. Their most lovable qualities reveal themselves to us only after we have begun to love them. Loving is the polish. Loving draws out the Buddha-nature. Anything and anyone we cherish and care for comes alive with the glow of our attention." 


Keep in mind that the five mindfulness trainings are designed as guidelines to support our mindfulness practice. They point us in the direction to reduce suffering in ourself and in others. These trainings were originally designed as precepts for lay practitioners by the Buddha and have been modernized by Thich Nhat Hanh and his community of practitioners. They are practices of compassion and understanding that can lead to healing, transformation and happiness for ourselves and for the world. Nearly all spiritual traditions have some equivalent guidance. 


Visit OHMC website to read the Five Mindfulness Trainings. 


After reading the Five Mindfulness Trainings together, we will have time to share from our own experience in True Love.


A few questions to ponder:

  • What has helped you have more True Love in your life?
  • What is holding you back?
  • What have you experienced when you lavished your attention on someone or something, animate or inanimate? Examples: baby, sick person, lover, dog, cat , garden, etc.
  • Why is it is often easier to shower compassion and loving kindness on a stranger than to those in your immediate household, family or workplace?  

I look forward to learning from you and your experience on Monday night.  


Honoring the Love in you all,