Dwelling in the Open Heart
Attending to what clouds the Heart
Being awake in the moment - just as it is
Extending the Awakened Heart to All Beings
This is borrowed from the writings of Ezra Bayda and is a slightly different slant on the Metta Bhavana meditation. Just to break it down a bit in the hope of making the practice more accessible for myself.
Dwelling in the Open Heart - Living in and from which I relate and interact with others.. Is to live conscious of this world and the joy and pain of it - being awake to it.
What clouds this Open Heart? - Fear, anger, the knee-jerk response to what seems to threaten.. My world, My Being, My, Mine!
Being Awake now - to all of it. The illness and discomfort experienced, the weak feeling and the tiredness. All of it, the irritation and expectations of other people. The inconvenience of snow and discomfort of cold. The beauty and the pristine nature of it freshly fallen. An extension of this livingness out to all as much as I am able. By giving kindness and support, by giving humour; by giving time and listening to others. By working with others to help make life more joy filled and the world a better place.
“By working to.. make the world a better place.” sounds like the greatest vanity as I read these words. Do I really imagine I can add one iota to the well being of the world? In fact I do, I do. In however small a way I am able to add to the sum total of the positive. Do I seriously think I can ’cure’ the ills of this suffering world? That is an altogether different matter. Yet this is the Vow of Amida and one that we align ourselves with daily in our practice and as we go for Refuge.
Cultivating an Open Heart - means practically, as far as possible, a focus that is outward with a readiness to help, to give rather than take. It is to stand alongside, rather than ‘in front’ of my neighbour. It is about Honesty and it is about Courage. It is also to acknowledge the fundamental innocence of oneself and others, however hard this is to do at times. It is learning to trust enough to stand naked in the light of the possible negative assessment of others.
An Open Heart receives as readily as it gives. It is awake to the beautiful nature of things: the sun and moon, the purity of water (regardless of taint, essentially it is pure..), the trees and the confederacy of the plant community; the bright energy of life itself, eros and the touch of love. There is something in life that wants us to grow and thrive, to prosper and procreate. What is this wanting? What name is intimate enough to hold all this? All our names are provisional at best I think. Namo Amida Bu.
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