Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

A Deep, Uncritical Love

--by Bhante Gunaratana (Mar 22, 2011)

You can't make radical changes in the pattern of your life until you begin to see yourself exactly as you are now. As soon as you do that, changes will flow naturally. You don't have to force anything, struggle, or obey rules dictated to you by some authority. It is automatic; you just change. 

But arriving at that initial insight is quite a task. You have to see who you are and how you are without illusion, judgment or resistance of any kind. You have to see your place in society and your function as a social being. You have to see your duties and obligations to your fellow human beings, and above all, your responsibility to yourself as an individual living with other individuals. And finally, you have to see all of that clearly as a single unit, an irreducible whole of interrelationship. It sounds complex, but it can occur in a single instant. Mental cultivation through meditation is without rival in helping you achieve this sort of understanding and serene happiness. [...]
Meditation is intended to purify the mind. It cleanses the thought process of what can be called psychic irritants, things like greed, hatred and jealousy, which keep you snarled up in emotional bondage. Meditation brings the mind to a state of tranquility and awareness, a state of concentration and insight.
Meditation is called the Great Teacher. It is the cleansing crucible fire that works slowly but surely, through understanding. The greater your understanding, the more flexible and tolerant, the more compassionate you can be. You become like a perfect parent or an ideal teacher. You are ready to forgive and forget. You feel love toward others because you understand them, and you understand others because you have understood yourself. You have looked deeply inside and seen self-illusion and your own human failings, seen your own humanity and learned to forgive and to love. When you have learned compassion for yourself, compassion for others is automatic. An accomplished meditator has achieved a profound understanding of life, and he or she inevitably relates to the world with a deep and uncritical love.
--Bhante Gunaratana, from "Mindfulness in Plain English"


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Previous Reflections:

On Mar 21, 2011 Froggy wrote:

This was right on the money!

On Mar 21, 2011 Ganoba wrote:

 Meditation is being still and silent.

As this happens, the idea  "I am an indivisual who makes things happen" drops off.

The mind becomes an empty vessel, which it is.

We are released from all concepts based on the past.

We are free to live and enjoy it.

On Mar 22, 2011 danielle swabb wrote:

 great stories

On Mar 22, 2011 jon madian wrote:

I loved this piece until I came to the "meditation" part. As one who began to practice "meditation" many decades ago, my concern with the word "meditation" is that it can mean so many things that are NOT what is intended.

The premise that we must cultivate self-awareness in all situations, be aware of our afflicted states and take responsibility for them is clear to me. Sitting quietly and breathing into self-awareness, or being engaged with others and staying self-aware with the help of breath, seems more useful than the abstract idea of meditation. This work of self-awareness is very humble, very simple. It is giving attention to thought and feeling and investigating and releasing those states of consciousness that are not constructive, that are judgmental and hurtful because they are born of hurt and fear. So often grief is a doorway to love and living fully with awareness is the meditation.

On Mar 23, 2011 Raju Tanwani wrote:

Yes, I would like to receive daily postings.

On Mar 23, 2011 jon madian wrote:

The openning statement: "You can't make radical changes in the pattern of your life until you begin to see yourself exactly as you are now." seems spot on. The challenge is that the "now" is the ever emerging present, which keeps appearing to change as we respond to the events within and outside of us. So this self-observation, or witnessing in a non-judgmental way, requires that we not identify with our thoughts and emotions even as we embrace them. A subtle dance where the music is stillness, concentration, and empathy.

On Mar 28, 2011 Sudarshan Rauta wrote:

This profound thought has brought home the point that most of us are trying to change the world without changing ourselves.It is like hammering on cold iron.

On Mar 28, 2011 Pancho wrote:

My family calls me Pancho and many of you don't know me, but if you could imagine and feel your heart smiling, that's how much I love you all. :-)

This was a very rich passage. I wasn't able to share all that came to the mind/heart at the circle of sharing because we were 60 people! Through the magic of the electron land, I will let flow the information that was resonating with the being last Wednesday. Here are 3 points:
1. Unconditional Loving, Mirror Neurons and True Compassion
2. Enlightened Anarchism or Non-hierarchical Compassionate Organizing
3. The Power of Being in Receptive Silence
1. Unconditional Loving, Mirror Neurons and True Compassion
There is something that permeates one's soul when one is at the Kindness Temple. Is there something more powerful than the love felt by a mother towards her children? What if mother and father treat everybody in their home as if they were their family, as if they were their children? What if a whole family, the mother, the father, the brothers and their wives, treat you as their own family? Welcome to Wednesdays! :-)
And once a few human beings perform the outrageous boldness to leave the doors open for anybody to come to their home and love them and serve them with no strings attached, it becomes contagious. The scientific explanation of the beauty of this kind of love can be briefly glimpsed in this TED talk about Mirror Neurons -- or Gandhi Neurons as Vilayanur Ramachandran calls them. This is intimately linked to true compassion
However, no TED talk, book or post will give us the full experience of love and compassion. We must live it.
On Wednesdays in Santa Clara, we come to train these mirror neurons, our subconscious being and to develop our compassion, so that when the time comes to face physical, emotional or psycological violence from other beings, we are prepared to empathize with them and the feeling but immediately (read subconsciously) "fire back" with _genuine_ equanimous love. This response, not reaction, causes a confusing scenario in the other person(s) who will experience fear/hatred/violence AND fearlessness/love/nonviolence at the same time. This only can be done by purifying the mind. A very hard task the Universe of Love will be glad to hep us with. In this way, we stop the ancient madness of violence and become agents of harmony, happiness and joy.
That's why, and most importantly from my point of view, our collective sitting on Wednesdays are about transforming the most difficult of all of them: our inner violence. Through fearlessness, spending countless hours in receptive silence and exercising the muscles of loving speech and compassionate listening this trasnformation can be organically done.
2. Enlightened Anarchism or Non-hierarchical Compassionate Organizing
Anarchy doesn't mean chaos, it means without government: the state of a people without any constituted authority. When the author of the passage says:

"You have to see your place in society and your function as a social being. You have to see your duties and obligations to your fellow human beings, and above all, your responsibility to yourself as an individual living with other individuals." 
I thought about Gandhi and how he talked about human responsibilities and enlightened anarchy. Was Gandhi an anarchist?
Journalist: Do you prefer English people as governing race to other races?
Gandhi: I have no choice to make. I do not want to be governed except by myself.
Gandhi’s “nationalism” stood to disband the Congress Party upon independence:
“Its task is done. The next task is to move into villages and revitalize life there to build a new socio-economic structure from the bottom upwards.”

He also understood patriotism differently than his contemporaries: 
“By patriotism, I mean the welfare of the whole people.”  

“The very right to live is only afforded to us if we fulfill our duty as citizens of the world. Nationalism is not the highest concept. The highest concept is a world community.”–M.K. Gandhi

“Political power, in my opinion, cannot be our ultimate aim. It is one of the means used by men for their all-around advancement. The power to control national life through national representatives is called political power. Representatives will become unnecessary if the national life becomes so perfect as to be self-controlled. It will then be a state of enlightened anarchy in which each person will become his own ruler. He will conduct himself in such a way that his behavior will not hamper the well being of his neighbors. In an ideal State there will be no political institution and therefore no political power.”
In other to live in a harmonious community without governments, first we need to develop a self-government, self-rule. In a world where the system is broken we need new forms to relate with the Planet, with animals, with plants, with each other, with our choices. That’s why some of us are not anarchists as defined in the encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc. written by the hierarchies and their corporate media. We go beyond labels, we are human beings who are engaged and in love with the voluptuous authority of collective intelligence/wisdom; with her hugs of education, respect and peace; and with her kisses of justice, true democracy and freedom. This is the non-hierarchical way in which compassionate organizing arises.
3. The Power of Being in Receptive Silence
How do you talk about the Great Silence and the unmanifested?
Not possible. It cannot be spoken, thought, written or imagined only experienced. We are consciousness remembering its origin. Inner connectedness. Our link to the unmanifested is consciousness that emanates as radiation emanates from the stars. Don't cultivate awareness of the inner body, be inner awareness for presence is consciousness lifting our souls to the higher realm of here and now: the inner realm.
Life could be radically more beautiful than what currently is for everybody in our communities. The beautification starts with us, Today. We don't have to wait. Here is a story of the power of being in receptive silence, also know as meditation. It goes beyond our rational and intellectual understanding. Because Love is the goal. Love is the means. Love is the reason! :-)
May all become compassionate, courageous and wise.


On Mar 29, 2011 Somik Raha wrote:


This piece brought up a couple of thoughts for me. First, I was talking to a friend just before coming here today and he asked me a question, "how do I know that the pleasure I feel during meditation is or isn't bliss?" As in, he was asking how to distinguish between pleasure (the good stuff with attachment) from bliss (the good stuff without attachment). The first response that came to me was what a monk I know would say, “Only you will know.” At another level, a great danger with meditation is attachment to sensations. Therefore, if my meditation activity makes me feel like wanting to sit again and again and I'm helpless, that meditation is creating more bondage than it's destroying. Meditation, if done properly, should lead to more awareness and more equanimity.

In a sense, this passage seems to be answering the question "what is the goal of meditation?" Meditation is one of those strange tools that, although being a means to an end, is best practiced without an eye on the end. Indeed, the more we crave equanimity and awareness, the further we go from it.

I also remembered when, after a round of meditation, I asked a monk, "could you please share some thoughts with us?" The monk shared some thoughts, two of which are relevant here. He said, "In this day and age, meditation is not sufficient for progress. One has to engage in action." After a pause, he continued, "In this day and age, action is not sufficient. One has to engage in meditation." :)

Viral built on this idea with the comment (inspired by a monk), "Meditation is inner service. Service is outer meditation."