A Heart Of Warmth Is Not Something Impossible

Tenzin Palmo

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Awakin FeatureWhat does love mean? In the West, we mistake the meaning of love; we bandy the word around all the time, from “I love ice-cream” to “I love God”. But we mistake love for desire, for greed, for lust, and for attachment. We think that to love something or someone means to hold on very tightly and to think of it as “mine”. And because of this grasping mind, we suffer very much. We suffer from the fear that we will lose what we desire, and we suffer from grief when we do lose. Think about that. We usually mistake attachment for love. But attachment is not love. Attachment is grasping, attachment is clinging. And this is the root cause of our being in this state of suffering.

The Buddha said that there is a truth of suffering and that there is a cause of suffering. The cause of suffering is grasping. We hold things so tightly because we don’t know how to hold things lightly. But everything is impermanent. Everything is flowing-- it’s not static or solid. We cannot hold on to anything. As long as we try to hold on to the flow of the river, we either end up with nothing-- because we can’t grasp water in a tight fist. Or else, we dam up the flow and end up with something very stagnant, smelly and stale. The actuality is movement. If we try to hold on tightly, we kill it. And that causes so much pain; it causes so much fear in our lives. That’s not love. Love is a tremendous opening of the heart. It’s a heart which thinks ”May you be well and happy” and not “May you make me well and happy”. In order to cultivate that kind of heart which wishes for the happiness of others, we can start first by opening with our family. This means by trying to make them happy and being open towards them. But not clinging or grasping-- just being there for them. Showing them love, showing them affection, because they are the first people who need our love and affection. But it’s not a tight grasping affection. When I was 19, I decided to go to find a Lama, and I said to my mother “I’m going to India” and she said, “Oh yes, when are you leaving?” She didn’t say “What do you mean you are going to India? How could you leave your poor old mother?” She said, “Oh yes, when are you leaving?’” not because she didn’t love me, but because she did love me. She loved me and she wanted me to fulfill my own potential and be happy. She was not thinking “Oh, but if you’re going to leave me, I’m going to be lonely. I’m going to be miserable. How can you abandon me?” So, because of her non-attachment, she rejoiced in my happiness. Even while I was away, though I am sure she missed me very much, but she rejoiced in all the things I did, the places I went and the people I met. [...]

That’s love. And that heart of warmth is not something impossible. It’s something we can all develop. That joy in making others happy, in thinking how we can give a little happiness, a little joy to others that we meet, through a kind word, through a smile, through a gift or whatever. Not always thinking “Oh, but they never gave me anything, so why should I give them anything?”, or “They never smile at me, so I’m not going to smile at them.” That’s such a petty, small mind. Think about a society in which everyone is at least nice to each other. That would be heaven, would it not? And yet it doesn’t take that much to be pleasant, even to people who are not pleasant in return. If we were affable to everybody, then on the whole, people would be agreeable in response.

Because it’s really true that we get out of life what we put into it. And if we are always radiating negative thoughts and feelings – anger, resentment or just self-absorption—then that’s what we’ll get back. [...]

So it’s up to us. We create this world as we project it from our mind. We can make this world into something meaningful. We can make some genuine contribution to our environment. Even just within our own circle, by helping others to feel better, we can have a life that has some purpose. So that at the end of our life, we can look back and say, “well, at least I did what I could.” Or we could waste it-- we can go through life grumbling, and moaning and complaining and blaming other people in the family, an unhappy childhood and one’s parents or the government and society. Whether we go up or whether we go down or whether we stand still, is up to us. And if we want to be miserable, we can be absolutely miserable. We have full permission. But if we don’t want to be miserable, that is also up to us. Things can change. Things are changing moment to moment. We can change. And if we change ourselves, everything changes. Everything changes.

From here.

Seed questions for reflection: What does developing a heart of warmth mean to you? Can you share a personal story of a time you experienced love as a tremendous opening of the heart? What helps you develop a heart of warmth?

Add Your Reflection:

11 Previous Reflections:

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    On Mar 8, 2020 Susan wrote:
    Yes. Love is a state of being not an emotion. You cannot love someone or sometimes because this is our true nature and frequency. Step into love and all life flows. This week at work i will be putting up a picture x 4 of a dolphin and it's baby. Beneath the image the words Joy laughter happiness and fun. I did this to raise the energy. The Dolphin is a symbol of Jesus and holds the frequency of unconditional love.

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    On Feb 16, 2020 Peter N Stone wrote:
    BEAUTIFUL

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    On Jan 30, 2020 MARIA DEL REFUGIO SANDOVAL OLIVAS wrote:
    I used to be very angry because of one of my brothers. He didn ́t take care of mom, even when he lived so close. He didn ́t have time to spend with her, and she was suffering for that. Two years ago, she passedaway, and I decided to forgive him. Now it´s a lot easier for me to talk about him and to have a nice relationship with him. I decided not to take events so deep and try to understand that everyone is different.

    1 reply: David. | Post Your Reply
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    On Jan 28, 2020 Nimish N Purohit wrote:
    "As long as we try to hold on to the flow of the river, we either end up with nothing-- because we can’t grasp water in a tight fist....." This sentence speaks to my heart.

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    On Jan 28, 2020 heide toner wrote:
    just reading this filled my heart. I too was ridiculed for having an open heart, for caring about others too much apparently. I love hearing from all of you because it helps me to know we all belong to the same tribe. I am always trying I guess to welcome new members but some resist and become angry and letting go is important.... it gets tiring to keep hearing "you're just too sensitive"

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    On Jan 28, 2020 Ambika wrote:
    I am not able to intellectualizethis for this is ME from as a child. I was ridiculed for this 'EXPANDED HEART. Now that I read Tenzin Palmo-a wise one I in all practicality admit that ' A Heart of warmth is possible'
    It is not a 'heard work' but a being of the 'Heart State'.

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    On Jan 27, 2020 Prasad Kaipa wrote:
    When I read the passage, I thought of this photo. It is a wonderful sunset that I experienced last month in Costa Rica. I love sunsets but also know that there is nothing to hold onto. I don’t have any control and choice about holding onto them. So we develop a detached engagement attitude that still has a lot of love connected to it but no attachment. If I can look at my family, my children as sunset that we can only watch and celebrate but not 'cling to’ then their life and mine would be lot more fun and there will be more love and less resentment or upsets! thanks for the wonderful passage. Now I have to see how to practice treating the loved ones as sunrises and sunsets!



    Click on the image for higher-res photo.

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    On Jan 24, 2020 David Doane wrote:
    Tenzin Palmo equates heart of warmth with love, so I'll go with that. To me, developing a heart of warmth includes recognizing that the other is a person just like me, being genuinely caring about the other, being respectful, wanting the other to develop his or her own unique self and be happy and healthy, and wanting the other to be a capable independent adult. It is a relationship in which there is not dependence such as clinging, or manipulation such as guilt-giving. I can't make the other happy, and no one can make me happy -- I can be caring, kind, independent, respectful, and honest, which usually contributes to my being happy and also to the other being happy. I've experienced love as a tremendous opening of the heart in loving relationships, including and especially with my wife. What helps me develop a heart of warmth is experiencing it either in myself or in an other, realizing how satisfying it is, and wanting more. None of us do what we could, as we could always... [View Full Comment] Tenzin Palmo equates heart of warmth with love, so I'll go with that. To me, developing a heart of warmth includes recognizing that the other is a person just like me, being genuinely caring about the other, being respectful, wanting the other to develop his or her own unique self and be happy and healthy, and wanting the other to be a capable independent adult. It is a relationship in which there is not dependence such as clinging, or manipulation such as guilt-giving. I can't make the other happy, and no one can make me happy -- I can be caring, kind, independent, respectful, and honest, which usually contributes to my being happy and also to the other being happy. I've experienced love as a tremendous opening of the heart in loving relationships, including and especially with my wife. What helps me develop a heart of warmth is experiencing it either in myself or in an other, realizing how satisfying it is, and wanting more. None of us do what we could, as we could always do more -- we do what we do, so do it with love. It is true that what I do affects everyone and everything else.[Hide Full Comment]

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    On Jan 24, 2020 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
    Love is born in heart. It flourishes in heart.It flows from heart. Love liberates us from the grasping of selfish desire, from the craving of getting something from someone even at the cost of the other person's well being. When I offer mylove to someone as a gift from my heart with no expectationof getting something in return I feel a tremendous amountof ofjoyfulness,tenderness, warmth and fulfillment. It is my conviction the we are born with the potential to love everyone.What we need to do is to open out heart to relate to nature and other human beings lovingly, kindly and compassionately. The seeds of love need to be nourishedby ourunconditionallove. This is my way of cultivating love. I have been blessed to have loving people in my life who have extended handtheircaring hands to hold me in theirwarm and loving hearts. Such experienceshave helped me to nourish and cultivate warmth, tenderness and compassion in my heart. I will never forget how my mother raised me and took care... [View Full Comment] Love is born in heart. It flourishes in heart.It flows from heart. Love liberates us from the grasping of selfish desire, from the craving of getting something from someone even at the cost of the other person's well being. When I offer mylove to someone as a gift from my heart with no expectationof getting something in return I feel a tremendous amountof ofjoyfulness,tenderness, warmth and fulfillment. It is my conviction the we are born with the potential to love everyone.What we need to do is to open out heart to relate to nature and other human beings lovingly, kindly and compassionately. The seeds of love need to be nourishedby ourunconditionallove. This is my way of cultivating love.

    I have been blessed to have loving people in my life who have extended handtheircaring hands to hold me in theirwarm and loving hearts. Such experienceshave helped me to nourish and cultivate warmth, tenderness and compassion in my heart. I will never forget how my mother raised me and took care of me and wiped my tears when I was feeling down and depressed. She always stood beside me even when she would be tired. he was an embodiment of love, kindness and compassion. By living example she taught me how to love. I have been following in her footprints even though she has passed away many years ago. She lives in my heart. Love never dies. It gets richer and deeper as I am growing like a tree!

    Whenever I move into the dark zone of my life, love shines and helps me to go though the darkness of pain and suffering. I have learned the powerof becoming still and go though the dark zone without getting lost. The waves of pain and suffering subside and I regain my balance and inner strength. Remaining mindful of the self-created misery and freeing my self from the grip of my ignorance and attachment, I regain my peace.
    Namaste!
    JagdishP Dave
    [Hide Full Comment]

    1 reply: David | Post Your Reply

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