Monday, January 19, 2009

Love, No Beginning, No End

Love comes often as a surprise, an accident, a gift. It comes not as we choose, but as we, the chosen one. Always love is a gift shared between two or more persons. If it is not reciprocal, not shared, it may be a relationship but it is not love.

In his book, Cultivating the Mind of Love, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh relates to the reader his personal, honest experience. He says he was young monk, meeting a young nun, and "Seeing her standing there like that was like a fresh breeze blowing across my face...I had never had a feeling like that." Falling in love is an accident, he concludes, but it is also more.

You see he writes, "in our store consciousness are buried all the seeds, representing everything we have ever done, experienced or perceived. When a seed is watered, it manifests in our mind consciousness...we have to trust, knowing that all the seeds of enlightenment and happiness are already there... We only need to be there, to allow the seeds of love and understanding that are deep within us to be watered."

Anything that waters these deepest, true seeds within us is true Dharma. We become filled with the mind of enlightenment, the mind of love. Filling us with joy, confidence and energy, we feel alive. Yet "our mind of love may be buried under many layers of forgetfulness and suffering. If we are lucky, we may find someone in our community who is skillful enough so as to enable us to touch this seed, the mind of love."

The community of practitioners is vital to one who seeks to live by experience, the simple mind, to touch the mind of love. This group may be large; it may be just two or three persons who support one another. They, solidly forming, to support and encourage one another in the practice of mindfully examining themselves and the world around in this moment. "If you don't have anyone who understands you, who encourages you in the practice...your desire to practice may wither."

The mind of love is a strong power within you. You are alive with it; it is a matter of watering those seeds to bring it forth. Thich writes, "Where is the self? Where is the non-self? Who is your first love? Who is your last? What is the difference between our first love and our last love? How can anything die?

'If you want to touch my love, please touch yourself." Water which flows in spring, in winter, is a bright, solid mass. In a cold pond, it reflects the bright, full moon. Can you hold onto the water by its form? Can you trace its source? Do you know when and where it will end? "It is the same with your first love. Your first love has no beginning and will have no end. It is still alive, in the stream of your being."

Love may indeed be an accident, but we need not avoid it, nor the gift that it may bring us. While this accident may "cause us some suffering...we will survive."

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