Monday, November 10, 2014

day five: 27 days of gratitude

Love 
I have been told (by men), "You love everyone and no one in particular".  While I'm sure that I neither warrant such praise nor censure, LOVE seems like one of those words that can have as many interpretations as there are voices yielding it.  When I think of love (which differs in my thinking from "in love") it is generally devoid of sentimentality and syrupy affection .  When I lean into LOVE, I lean into an encompassing spaciousness in which nothing is excluded.
Here is another story that I recently encountered:

When the zen teacher Bankei held his meditations, pupils from all over Japan came to attend. During one of these gatherings a pupil was caught stealing. The matter was reported to Bankei with the request that the culprit be expelled. Bankei ignored the case.
Later the pupil was caught in a similar act, and again Bankei disregarded the matter. This angered the other pupils, who drew up a petition asking for the dismissal of the thief, stating that otherwise they would leave in a body.
When Bankei had read the petition he called everyone before him. “You are wise,” he told them. “You know what is right and what is not right. You may go somewhere else to study if you wish, but this poor brother does not even know right from wrong. Who will teach him if I do not? I am going to keep him here even if all the rest of you leave.”
A torrent of tears cleansed the face of the brother who had stolen. All desire to steal had vanished.
In truth, it is our unlovable parts, our inner Judas, our shadows, our ignorance, our failings, our unmet needs, our unvoiced horrors, our darkness, that need the strength of LOVE.  There is an insidious belief that if I push away my unwanted inner guests and seek instead love from without, cultivating a polished identity devoid of messiness and vulnerability, than the "unlovable parts" will magically disappear.  You and I know that doesn't work.  It doesn't work individually.  It doesn't work collectively.  It just doesn't work.  If I don't turn the light of Love toward the whole of "self" in all its terrifying and beautiful disguises, what hope is there for ever knowing love?

SO today I am grateful, that no matter how bumbling my efforts or how obvious my failings, there is room for them within the spacious embrace of Love.

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