Love your enemies – as medicine

 

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – Matthew 5:44.

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. – Luke 6:27.

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. – Luke 6:35.

Love your enemies. It sounds like a should, but it’s really medicine. It’s a prescription for finding wholeness and well being of myself, which in turn benefits those around me.

Who or what are my enemies? It’s anything in my world I don’t like. Anything I see as undesirable, bad, that shouldn’t be there. It can be an emotion, pain, discomfort, a person, an illness, war, delusion, a political party, noise, or anything else.

How do I find love for it? I have found these helpful:

I wish you love. I wish you ease. (Loving Kindness, Metta).

Tonglen. Ho’oponopono.

Holding satsang with what’s here. (You are welcome here. Thank you  for protecting me. Thank you for your love for me. What would satisfy you forever? What are you really?)

All-inclusive gratitude practice. I am grateful for…. (Anything in my life, including and especially that which I don’t at first like.)

Placing myself in the heart flame. (When it’s something in me I perceive as an enemy.)

Christ meditation. Visualizing Christ at the seven points (in my heart, above and below me, in front and back of me, either side of me.) I sometimes also do this for others, and the Earth.

Inquiry into anything – any stories, perceptions, assumptions – that I use to close down my love for myself and others. Any stories of enemies. Any stories of love not being here. Any fearful stories about love.

What’s the effect of finding love for my enemies? For me, it’s a sense of wholeness and love for myself and others. A sense of coming home, and of deep well being and nurturing.

Why does this work? If life is love already, and we are life and love, then this is a way for us to come home to ourselves.

In a very real sense, love may be the medicine we are all looking for. If we had a choice, would chose to be free of a particular situation or illness, or find deep and genuine love for it? Perhaps a healing of our relationship to ourselves and the world is the healing we really wish for. (It’s not one or the other. We can find deep love for an illness, and still go to the doctor and follow her prescriptions. We can find deep love for a person, and still not allow him to hurt others if we can help it.)

Finding deep and genuine love for what’s here may even open up for our natural fearless wisdom and intelligence, allowing us to act with more kindness and clarity in the world.

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Embracing what’s disowned in the field

 

Here is one of the explorations I am called to these days:

I notice the field of experience.

Is there anything there is resistance to?

Is there anything in the field of experience there is a slight “no” to?

How is it to consciously include this? Embrace it? Meet it with a yes?

How is it to open my heart to it?

What happens?

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A shift into being it

 

I felt completely stuck yesterday – caught up in dissatisfaction, internal complaining, unease and general discomfort. Nothing seemed to work, apart from lying down and intentionally open my heart to it, allowing it to be, and giving it all over to the divine. Later, as I went to bed for the night, I continued this, and there was an impulse to shift into being it. And that’s where it seemed to fall into place. Being it was the only resolution that felt complete and honest in the moment.

I also remembered what Evelyn Underhill writes in Mysticism. The dark night is a preparation for, and shifts into, being whatever is.

It’s not new to me, but when it happens in this way, it feels new. Surprising. A fresh discovery.

Misery. Resistance. More misery. Allowing. Opening my heart to it. Then, a shift into being the field of experience.

I also see that being it can have two or three flavors.

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Big Mind, Heart, Belly, Integrity

 

I guess Big Integrity comes naturally from Big Mind, Big Heart and Big Belly.

Big Mind is what we are – that which everything happens within and as, including the images of a separate self – a human, a doer, an observer – that we sometimes identify with.

Big Heart is what happens when our human self functions within the context of what we are awake to itself. It is love lived through this human self, whether there is a feeling of love or not there.

Big Belly is the felt sense of all of this. It is the human self feeling all as Big Mind and Big Heart. A reorganization of the emotional level of the human self.

And Big Integrity is to live from all of this, in daily life.

Of course, it’s not this simple. It can feel temporarily satisfying to say or read something that’s relatively simple, clear, and resonates to some extent. It can be inspiring. It can even be something we wish to bring more into our lives. And yet, in practical terms, there is a little tweak we can do so it’s makes more sense and is more useful. And that tweak is to pay attention to where we fall short.

What shoulds or ideals do I try to live up to? What do I hope to get out of it? What thoughts come up when I fall short of my own expectations or ideals? If not falling short seemed within reach, what fears – if any – held me back? What do I find when I explore this further? For instance with heart practices, inquiry, or parts work?

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Love as content and not

 

The word love can refer to many different things.

It can mean romantic love, which is really attraction. 

It can mean an open heart and a feeling of love and compassion. A warm feeling of connection. 

It can refer to what happens when a human self functions within the context of what we are awake to itself.

(And probably a lot more that doesn’t come to mind right now.) 

In the first two cases, it happens within content of experience. It is an attraction. Or a warm feeling of compassion and connection. 

And in the third case, it is not content of experience. It is just what happens when Big Mind is awake to itself and functions through a human being. It is independent of any feeling. It is expressed in action in ways that often looks like love and compassion. And it can certainly generate a feeling of love, although it may not, and it doesn’t really matter. 

Specifically, anything this human self experiences – including other beings – is all recognized as awakeness itself, as the play of awake emptiness. So here, acting from love and compassion is as natural as the left hand removing a splinter from the right. It happens without hesitation. And independent of – and flavored by – states. 

So say I pass two guys at a street corner, holding a sign asking for food money. I can act out of a “should” and give them money, maybe feeling a little guilty. I can act out of a warm feeling in my heart, an experience of warmth and compassion for them. Or I can just act, independent of any particular experience of state, from a recognition that the Reality in them is what I am. It is all there is.

Dream: Kiss on the cheek

 

I am with two or three woman healers and there is a sense of shared essence and quiet understanding among us. I notice how beautiful it is that it is naturally expressed differently for each of us. One of them gives me a long kiss on the cheek, and there is a sense of a  stream of sweet nectar flowing from the kiss into and filling my heart.

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Feel awareness

 

Some teachers emphasize to feel awareness. It may sound funny, but there is a deep wisdom behind it.

When I shift into Big Mind, finding myself as what I am, feeling awareness is an invitation to bring attention to what is happening to my body. I bring attention to the felt-sense, to what is happening with my felt-sense when what I am notices itself.

(I can invite this shift in through the Big Mind process, headless experiments, exploring the sense fields, allowing experience/choiceless awareness, or by following a number of other pointers. And the noticing of what I am can be more or less clear. But the felt-sense will still shift along with it.)

What I notice is a deep relaxation of the body. When it is no longer taken as an I with an Other, it is free to release the tension that comes from being taken for an I with an Other.

Bringing attention to the body, in the context of what we are noticing itself, is also an invitation to the body to reorganize within this new context. It is an invitation to deepen into the felt sense of what we are noticing itself, and to allow the body – and our human self as a whole – to reorganize within it.

And if the heart is brought in, there is a whole new flavor to it, and the relaxation and reorganization goes even deeper.

I shift into Big Mind, invite in Big Heart, a kindness and well-wishing towards anything within form, bring attention to the body and embrace the body, and allow the body – and my human self as a whole – to deeply relax and reorganize within that awareness and love.

Free from the tension and stress of being taken for an I with an Other, and within being seen, felt and loved as it is, here and now.

If the universe is friendly

 

Byron Katie had a good additional question during the workshop on Saturday:

If the universe is a friendly place, why would ….? (Fill in with the topic of the initial belief.)

This is quite similar to Joanna Macy‘s exercise called My Choices for This Life, or the Bodhisattva Check-In, where we explore why we chose to be as a human being in this moment of history, and then explore this more in detail with the particulars of this human life. How does it all contribute to this life, with its particular insights, gifts, opportunities?

Both are of course just thought experiments, a way of framing our experience in a different way.

And at the same time, both mimic how it appears when Big Mind, and especially Big Heart, awakens to itself. When Big Mind/Heart is awake to itself, we naturally see the life of this human self in the context of the universe as friendly, and the particulars of our life as gifts to open our heart and mind.

But there is no need to make it into a belief. If it is not alive in immediate experience, it can be explored as just a thought experiment. A what if, and then see what comes out of it.

As a subquestion in The Work, it may fit immediately before or after the turnarounds when our view is already quite open and receptive.

Compassion independent of a feeling

 

This is another one of the common landscape features we can come upon when we explore who or what we are, or even if we don’t: compassion independent of a feeling.

As long as we quite strongly take ourselves to be a separate individual, compassion is relatively closely connected with a certain heart feeling. We feel our heart open up, and we act on that open heart. But then something happens, our heart closes down, and we don’t act that way anymore. Or we may still act in a similar way, but now from a should, a belief which usually comes from our culture, religion or even spiritual tradition.

There is nothing wrong in any of this. It is where we are, the particular landscape we are exploring here and now. And it is beautiful with the sweet heart feeling, and the actions that come from it. And even acting on those shoulds has its place as well. As long as we strongly take ourselves to be a separate individuals, shoulds sometimes keep ourselves and others out of trouble. There is a reason why cultures instill them in us the way they do.

But then this changes in a few different ways.

First, through expanding our circle of care, compassion and concern, our circle of us. When we see someone as us, we need less of the heart feeling to act compassionately. (That feeling is there more readily too, for that matter.) As long as situations are not too extreme, and even then sometimes, we will act with respect, concern and care towards these beings.

Whether they are fellow humans, animals, plants, the Earth, and maybe in the future – who knows – fellow beings of this galaxy, as long as our circle of care expands to include them, we will act relatively compassionately towards them because they too belong to us.

Then, more thoroughly, there is another shift when we discover ourselves as Ground, as awakeness, and as this field of awakeness and form, inherently absent of an I with an Other. We may even just glimpse or intuit it, and that is often enough for a change to begin to take place.

Here we realize that all beings and all form is the one I without an Other, and as we deepen into seeing, feeling, and loving this, it seeps into how this human self lives its life. It naturally acts compassionately towards others, with whatever skillful means it has at its disposal, just as naturally as the left and helps the right when it is needed.

At this point, it all happens independent of a feeling. If that sweet heart feeling is there, good. If not, that is fine too. Acting with care and compassion is freed from the feeling.

Another way of saying this is that when this human self operates within the context of Big Mind noticing itself, Big Heart naturally comes in. And Big Heart is sometimes associated with that heart feeling and sometimes not, but its activities in and through our life is not dependent on it.

Likes and dislikes

 

There are many aspects to the likes & dislikes of this personality…

When there are beliefs around it, and we are identified with these likes & dislikes, there is often a sense of reactivity and compulsiveness around it. I either resist acting on them, or act on them compulsively. And it is generally quite unpleasant.

Free from beliefs, there is more clarity and also more kindness to myself and others. The kindness to myself includes taking the preferences of this personality more seriously. And this clarity and kindness to myself and others influences when I act and don’t act on these preferences, and how I do it.

When there is a baseline of clarity and kindness to myself and others, and a release of identification with the preferences of the personality, there is freedom to take these preferences seriously, to act on them when it seems appropriate, and to not act on them when that seems appropriate. It all depends on the situation, and is guided by whatever kindness, clarity and experience is available to us.

In this context, the preferences of this personality flavors the more impersonal clarity and kindness. It makes it personal, human, gives it a unique quality that only this human self can bring to it.

Said another way… the preferences of this personality flavors how Big Mind/Heart expresses and experiences itself in the world, whether awake to itself or not.

And that is one of the reasons why there is more than one of us 😉

As so many have said before, each human being, each living creature, every phenomenon, is the mask of God. It is God expressing and exploring itself as everything we see in the universe and the world, as everything we know from our selves.

And God never repeats itself. Each being and phenomenon is a unique expression, a unique flavor. One that has never been before, and will never be again, in that exact way.

So why not embrace who we are, this particular human self, with all its flaws and strangeness? It is one of the flavors of God. And the only way to taste the fullness of life.

Love filtered

 

One way to look at our lives is that it is all love filtered in different ways.

Mainly, it can be filtered through a sense of a separate self, in which case it takes the form of love for self with some glimpses of a more selfless love coming through now and then. The love for self is expressed as attraction & aversion and all their flavors such as possessive love, anger, sadness, grief, joy, happiness, and so on.

Also, it is filtered through widening circles of us, of the ones included in our circle of care, concern and compassion.

When these circles leave just about nothing out, there is a more clear expression of Big Heart, of a natural love for all there is, recognizing that it is not separate from this separate self, or that there is no separate self here in the first place.

So we can say that everything expressed through our human life is really Big Heart filtered in different ways. If there is a sense of a separate self, Big Heart is filtered through aversion and attraction. As our circle of us expands, more beings and situations are included in our circle of care even as there is still a sense of a separate self. And as this sense of a separate self thins, Big Heart notices itself more easily and is expressed in a more clear and direct way.

Ragged guests

 

Sometimes the guests that come through are pretty ragged… (Guests here meaning any content of experience, including emotions, reactivity, wounds, etc.) And if we try to push them away, ignore them, call the police, pretend they are not there, or end up wailing or running frantically around with them, they stay ragged.

The other option is to be with them in an heartfelt way, to allow whatever comes up from them, listen to it, feel into it, and even love it. That is how people in our life often can heal, and that is often how these guests can heal as well.

Again, nothing new here. We know it from our own life… seeing it in the world of humans and other beings, and the inner world of emotions, reactivity, wounds, and so on. At our human level, the outer and the inner mirror each other.

We can explore it quite simply in this way… just being with what comes up, in an heartfelt way. And we can also explore it more in detail through for instance voice dialog or the Big Mind process. Listening to disowned voices, the ones that are hurt in different ways, allowing them as they are, not needing them to change, not using them as something to manipulate or as a gateway into something else. Being interested in who they are, their history, being receptive to them, respecting them as they are, seeing and allowing them, feeling into what they say, and even loving them as they are. Even shifting into Big Heart and embracing them from Big Heart.

In terms of the three centers, there is receptivity at the head center (seeing), belly center (feeling, felt-sense), and heart center (love)… in short, a heartfelt seeing.

When we resist them (identify with the resistance), we not only rehearse the (apparent) split between I and Other but the guests also stay as they are, in misery, coming back later wanting to be let in.

Compassion includes guests in any form and shape, whether they show up in flesh and blood or in the form of emotions, reactivity, frustration, grief, sadness, anger, irritability, restlessness, wanting to be somewhere else.

The field filtered through the head and belly centers

 

I have written about this before, but it is still alive in my immediate awareness, and wants to be explored further…

There is a perfect (slightly asymmetrical) symmetry in how Existence is filtered through the head and belly centers.

Head center

Through the head center, it is awake emptiness and form. Crystal clear. Empty luminosity. Awake emptiness in the foreground, and form as nothing other than awake emptiness. It is transcendent. Detached. Free. Absent of any separate self. Full of the whole world. Masculine. Yang. Solar. The Ground of all form, and all form as no other than this Ground. Impersonal. It is the traditional enlightenment.

Belly center

Through the belly center, it is luminous blackness. Velvety. Smooth. Fullness. A full void. Nurturing. Giving birth to and holding all form. That which all form arises within, as, and that which is in all form. Immanent. Absent of any separate self. Nurturing this individual, allowing it to deeply heal, mature, soften, be more rounded, become more deeply human. It is feminine. Yin. Lunar. The ground of all form and that which is the context for, is, and is within all form. Deeply personal. It is the endarkenment.

Difference in emphasis

The head center gives an emphasis on awakening as awake emptiness, and as form which is no other than this awake emptiness. It gives freedom. Transcendence from identification with any segment of Big Mind, including this human self. But alone, it is detached, aloof, impersonal.

The belly center gives an emphasis on the deep transformation of this individual. A deep healing, untying of knots, maturing, softening and rounding of the personality, deepening into the human.

The coolness and nurturing of the belly center balancing out the fire and the impersonal of the head center

Having been familiar with the head center awakening (spontaneously in my teens, and deepening over several years), I now deeply appreciate the belly awakening as well. It gives a new depth, richness, sense of peace, of being deeply nurtured, of a coolness to balance the heat of the head center awakening. In addition to what I have described in other posts on this topics, I have, over the last few weeks, also had glimpses of an amazing (to me) new depth and richness of being, far beyond anything I have experienced before.

New realms of being opening up through the belly center awakening

Through the head center, this whole universe is nothing other than God, an alive presence behind and as everything, and without any separate self anywhere. And through the belly center, there another facet of the void and selflessness, but also new realms of being – of this individual – revealing themselves and deepening. Even the few glimpses I have had so far, over maybe just minutes or hours, are far beyond anything I had ever imagined.

Heart center

I should also mention a few words about the heart center. Existence filtered through the heart center seems to have two aspects: Big Heart and the indwelling God.

Big Heart is a love and compassion that is independent of any particulars of form. As Big Mind, it has no beginning, no end, no form, yet can take any form. It is both impersonal and personal, when expressed thorough an individual, but the impersonal tends to be in the foreground. It is the love and compassion that comes up spontaneously and naturally when Big Mind awakens to itself while still connected, and functioning through, a human being.

The indwelling God is an alive presence, located in the physical heart area. Infinitely loving, intelligent, receptive, and responsive. A most intimate guide. It is an aspect of God, placed in and for this particular individual.

While Big Heart is connected with Big Mind, universal and slightly impersonal (although can be made personal when expressed), the indwelling God is experienced as intimately personal, an alive presence in the heart area of this individual.

In both cases, it is universal, and this is in the foreground with Big Heart, and in the background – or as a context – for the indwelling God. And in both cases, it is personal, and this is in the foreground for the indwelling God, and a possibility – when made personal through a human self – for Big Heart.

Again, when the indwelling God became more alive in awareness around Christmas, it was something new opening up (yet also very familiar somehow.) An infinitely loving, intelligent, receptive and responsive alive presence, in the heart area. An aspect of God, for this individual. A most intimate guide.

The three centers in the Big Mind process

 

The three centers can be included in two different ways in the Big Mind process:as voices to explore, and maybe even more importantly, as alive throughout the process (as a meta-skill as they call it in Process Work.)

As voices to explore

As voices to dialog with, they are the familiar Big Mind and Big Heart, and also the new (for the Big Mind process) Big Belly.

It is the seeing, loving, and feeling of all as Spirit, allowing our individual view, heart and emotions to reorganize within this new context.

As meta-skills

When they are alive throughout the process, they allow us to see, love and feel each voice… as they are right now, and as Spirit.

There is a felt-sense of each voice, in our bodies. There is the allowing and loving of each voice, as serving the self (although sometimes a little misguided) and as Spirit. And there is the seeing of each voice, as they are right now, serving the self, and as Spirit.

Bringing all three into the process – the felt-sense, the allowing and loving, and the clear seeing – seems to allow for a deeper connection and unfolding… Each voice feels acknowledged in a more real way, allowing them to soften and reorganize to serve the self in a more fine-tuned way.

It creates a more full-bodied container for this to happen, for the vulnerable animal and all its voices to relax, feel safe, heard, understood, acknowledged, appreciated, honored, owned. Which in turn invites and allows them to reorganize to serve the self in a more finely tuned way.

Big Mind, Big Heart, Big Belly

 

If we map the three centers onto the Big Mind framework, we get Big Mind, Big Heart, and then also Big Belly.

The head awakening gives serenity and wisdom, as shown in many traditional Buddha depictions. It is the seeing of all as Spirit.

The heart awakening gives love and compassion for all beings, independent on who they are or what they do, and is reflected in depictions of Avalokitesvara, Kuan Yin, Chenrezig, Kanzeon. It is the loving of all as Spirit.

The belly awakening gives a deep sense of all as Spirit at a physical level, with the whole body and emotions, a deep sense of safety, nurturing and comfort. This profund sense of physical well-being (in the midst of whatever else may be going on) is reflected in Hotei, the big bellied laughing Buddha. It is the feeling of all as Spirit.

In each case, Big refers to that which leaves nothing out. The nondual view embraces and goes beyond all polarities. The open heart is open to all beings without exception, and to all forms no matter their specifics. The belly awakening is an awakening into the fertile darkness that is the ground of all form, the womb of all form in its infinite richness.

The view, love and fertile darkness is the seeing, loving and feeling all as Spirit, as awake emptiness and form, beyond and embracing all polarities.

The many faces of love

 

Somebody sent me a question about love, pointing out (accurately) that I don’t use that word much here.

Here are some of the things that came up for me…

Jnana and bhakti

There are two main approaches to spirituality: jnana (inquiry, insight, wisdom) and bhakti (love, compassion, devotion).

Over the last few years, jnana has been more in the foreground for me, in the form of various ways to do inquiry. Before this, there were several (pre-blog) years where bhakti was in the foreground as a practice and lived experience.

Both are fine of course. And at different times in our lives, one may be in the foreground for a while, and then the other, and then maybe neither, and then both.

Filters

Another thing about love is that it is used in many different meanings, and also can be filtered in different ways.

It can be filtered through a generally egocentric or ethnocentric or widening worldcentric way of being. Being exposed to people living from the two first of these, it is fine if I am inside of their circle of concern, but not so nice if I am outside of it. (Ku Klux Klan really do love whites, and I am sure it is a genuine love, but I if I am black and on the outside of that love, I may not appreciate it so much.)

Love, even world-centric love, is also filtered through beliefs. For instance, I may love somebody, but also think they should appreciate me, or be with me, or give me money, or generally behave the way I want. Love is then mixed up with much else that may not be so comfortable for those at the receiving end.

The view and emotion of love

There is also the view and emotion of love.

The view of love is Big Mind, or any views that approach Big Mind such as deepening and widening worldcentric circles of concern, a sense of no separation, of oneness, of recognition, and so on.

If I act from these views, my actions may be interpreted by others as coming from love. In reality, I am just acting from a sense or view of no separation, or recognition, or Big Mind, but it certainly looks like love, and I may even experience it as love – or not.

Which brings us to the emotion or experience of love. As with any content, the emotion or experience of love comes and goes. It is sometimes strong, sometimes, less strong, sometimes absent, sometimes mixed up with all sorts of other emotions. It is maybe not the most reliable basis for action.

But the view can be more stable. Unravelling beliefs, or finding myself as witness, the world of form is a seamless field and there is no absolute separation of I and Other anymore. From here, I will naturally live in ways that looks like love. And when the emotion is there to create a fuller and richer experience, that is the icing on the cake.

Impersonal and personal

A final thing that comes up for me is that love can be experienced as impersonal or personal, by either the giver or the receiver.

On the one hand, love in its essence is completely impersonal – embracing everyone and everything.

On the other hand, if my whole being is participating (present, engaged, wholehearted), and I am transparent and receptive, and interested in the other person as a human being, it tends to be experienced – by both, as more personal, more alive, more rich and full.

Amma

 

As I mentioned in a previous post, a friend of mine went to an event with Amma in Seattle last Sunday event. She told me that as she received the hug from her, an explosion went off in her heart. And since then, she has experienced everything and everyone – without exception – as love. The Universe itself, in all its forms, is love.

I was deeply touched by the story, and could certainly see the change in my friend. I could see her live as love.

And isn’t it beautiful how it can be catalyzed by something as simple as a hug? I would take a hug any day, over the customary gazing (as much as I enjoy that) and talks.

It is also a reminder of the beautiful symmetry of consciousness and energy, as Ken Wilber outlines in his new book. If we divide our being into levels, from physical through to causal, then we can say there is an energy- and consciousness-component at each level. They each influence each other. And in any awakening, both are included although one may be more emphasized than the other.

Amma’s hugs and the dikshas are just two examples of how awakenings can be catalyzed from the energy side, in turn inviting the consciousness to awaken. In this case, it seems that an awakening of the energies of the heart chakra opened for a recognition – a clear seeing – of everything as love. And other forms of energy work, such as Indian and Taoist yoga, are other examples of how the energetic side is addressed.

And of course, Amma and the dikshas are not truly neccesary. They just remind us of what we already are. They allow us to give ourselves permission to find it. Yet that reminder may be neccesary, at least in the beginning. They are a mirror of what is already here.

Seeing it there, I am reminded of what is already here.

Compassion

 

I went to Powell’s bookstore in Portland today and asked for An Interrupted Life, the journals and letters of Etty Hillesum. The person behind the desk looked it up, and asked if it was about the holocaust. As I said yes, I noticed compassion and sadness come up for me, and how the atmosphere changed. I also noticed how much I like that experience of compassion and intimacy.

And I saw clearly how it all comes from a story.

Without the story, there is just clarity. Jesus and Hitler is the same. There is ruthless equality.

With a story comes compassion and sadness. People shouldn’t do those things to each other. It is so sad that such a beautiful young woman, with so many talents, had to die so young and in such a way. And so on.

It is a beautiful story in a way. And as I said, I noticed a great deal of attachment and comfort in the compassion it gave birth to. Yet, it is only a story. Only another delusion. Another veil.

Who wants to hear that? How can it be expressed?

At the same time, I see that conventional compassion has a content, a particular feeling associated with it. And transcendent compassion does not. Transcendent compassion, Big Heart, just acts. There is suffering and the desire of I in the form of you to be relieved from suffering, and it acts. It is the left hand helping the right. No hesitation. No dependence on any particular feeling. It is the ruthless equality of Big Mind appearing as love in action.

Big Mind & Big Heart

 

As I deepen into familiarity with Big Mind I deepen into familiarity with Big Heart – and the other way around.

Big Mind

When I deepen my familiarity with myself as Big Mind, I find myself as Ground, as that which holds everything, as that which appears as the myriad phenomena, as that which is completely neutral, as that which recognizes all as equal, as emptiness dancing. There are no preferences here. All is. This is the ocean.

It is what is, when it realizes that it is inherently absent of any “I” anywhere.

Big Heart

When I deepen my familiarity with myself as Big Heart, I find myself as love for all, as compassion for everything and everyone. Here too there is equality, no thing – no one – is excluded.

In the yin aspect of Big Heart, there is just the holding of everything and everyone in love, allowing it to unfold the way it naturally unfolds in that space. Allowing it to reorganize and heal in that space.

In the yang aspect of Big Heart, there is more active engagement – inviting into clarity and release from suffering, in whatever way seems appropriate, with whatever tools available. This is the waves knowing they are ocean.

Deepening into both

The more I find myself as Ground and disengagement, the more there is the freedom for a more complete and full engagement and passion. And the more there is engagement and passion, the more it stimulates the exploration of disengagement and equality.

Disengagement without the engagement is without movement, exploration, fullness. Since it is not tested in the world, it can even be a disengagement that only appears when the world of form is a certain way and is apparently lost when the world of form appears a different way.

Engagement without disengagement is easily in struggle with itself and can burn itself out. It is caught in the dualities, without being able to see beyond them. It is caught in I and Other, and its inherent struggle.

Familiarizing myself with one is an invitation to deepen into the other. They go hand in hand.

Flavors

 

Some of the many flavors of how God expresses itself as/through humans…

Big Mind

This is the realization of selflessness, of realizing that there is no I anywhere. It is Big Mind awakening to its own nature. And it is still functionally connected with a particular human self.

All is revealed as God, as Ground spontaneously manifesting as the world of phenomena, as emptiness dancing. There are no human beings as an entity – it is just God playing a game with itself, temporarily identified with something finite – a human being.

Nothing needs to change. There is nothing to improve. Everything is perfect as it is.

This is the Absolute.

And on its own, it can appear cold, heartless, disengaged – because it really is.

Big Heart

Big Heart is a movement into the Relative, into duality, into a split.

Here, we include a more conventional view of I and Other within the context of Big Mind.

And this inclusion of I and Other in the context of all as God naturally opens and fuels the heart. It brings up engaged and lived compassion and love.

Human self

Into this combination of Big Mind and Big Heart comes the human self, with its own unique human characteristics – including its talents, inclinations, health and maturity.

Deluded

And there is of course also the possibility of God not awakened to its own nature, but temporarily identified with the human self and/or awareness – functioning through the filter of I and Other.

Mix

Mixed together, there is an infinite number of possibilities.

Big Mind can be emphasized, as it often is in Adveita and Buddhism.

Big Heart can be emphasized, as it often is in Theistic mysticism – for instance among Sufis and Christian mystics.

And any combination of Big Mind and Big Heart can be filtered through a human self, a unique personality – with its unique talents, inclinations, level of health and maturity. Sometimes it shows up as a teacher, sometimes as an activist, sometimes as one in service to the unfortunate, sometimes as an artist, sometimes as a healer, sometimes as an office worker, sometimes as a plumber.

Each of these are just different flavors – different ways God is exploring itself through awakening to its own nature.

No difference

There is not even much difference between God awakening to its own nature of selflessness, in various ways and to various extents, and God being identified with something finite. Both are just God exploring itself. Both are the play of God.

Both are perfect as they are, although it does not always look that way – especially if filtered through any exclusive identification (with something finite). And that too is perfect as it is. That too is God exploring itself. That too is part of the Game.

Heart Centered Practice: Fullness, engagement and embodiment

 

I used to focus on heart centered practices – mainly the heart prayer, Christ meditation (visualizing Christ in the heart and about 5 feet away in all six directions), and gratitude (for everything happening, through for instance repeating the word “thanks” as a mantra) – and it seems that they are slowly coming back. There is a quite different embodiment that comes from heart-centered practices, a different sense of engagement in the world.

There are many ways of talking about this, and I am only scratching the surface here as with everything else (and am obviously far behind many others who have explored this).

Where inquiry and basic sitting practice gives insight and clarity, heart-centeredness gives engagement. The first is a zero/first person relationship with God, and the second a second person relationship with God. One gives the context, the other the content. One gives clarity and space, the other fullness and richness. One gives equanimity, the other joy, gratitude and compassion.

And both seem needed, at least in my case.

There is a continuing deepening into the heart and living from the heart possible, before and after a nondual awakening.