Personal Note

My most valued possession is my family. Even if you are living in a box somewhere, and you have the love and support of your family, you will always be wealthy. Love really is all you need. From love, great things will emerge. From your thoughts, you can create greatness.

This is what I need to remind myself of everyday to be the best person that I can be. Live your life with gratitude. Be thankful for all that you have everyday, even if it is your eyes to see or your ears to hear or your feet to walk or your hands to create. Understand your place in this Universe; how infinitesimally small you are, but how huge a contribution your Spirit is. Don't wear blinders to the world around you, you're not the only one here. Be kind, considerate, don't be judgemental, love others, and yourself. Know that you are perfect inside; that you are love.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

Week One

"As a mother would risk her life to protect her child, her only child, even so should one cultivate a limitless heart with regard to all beings."


I wanted to begin the project with this quote because it resonates so deeply with me, and since I am using my son’s birthday as the jumping-off point to this project, it seems the appropriate choice.
I have always been powerfully attached and bound by the cord of love to my only child, my son, willing to do anything to protect him and keep him from any harm. This also drove me to teach him the life lessons he needed to learn to become the citizen, human, and man that he could be proud to be. One of those lessons is love and compassion for others--human and non-human beings, alike.

He has always shown great compassion for others since he was very small. I raised him in a household that values life of all kinds. I always taught him that an ant’s life is no less significant than my own, and that we must never be cruel to anything we perceive as "smaller" or "beneath" us, for all life is precious and created equal. Whether or not he continues to grow into this person is up to him, all we can do as parents is to offer our example and encouragement.

And this is how we live still, to this day. I feed the slugs bits of banana, I rescue worms from the dredging rains, and we always brake for squirrels and birds. While this is nonsense to many, I cannot fathom not living this way. The way to a kinder world is to begin with your own heart.

Though I have always felt a strong endearment towards animals and other creatures of nature, I have not always felt this passionately about people. I believe this is because animals, insects and nature have an innocence about them; a purity due to the missing judgment and selfishness that humans seem to cultivate so well. But the more I grow as a person, the more I learn about why we do the things we do, and that has helped me break down my own barriers and judgments towards other people.
Now, I don't expect you to run out tonight and feed the slugs like you feed the birds, but you don't have to pour salt on them, either. That is all I'm talking about. There are humane ways to deal with things, like the snails in your garden, without going out of your way to teach your children to find glee in the morbid curiosity of what happens to a slug when you douse it in salt. There is necessity, like keeping bugs out of your house, and there is total disregard for other forms of life.

I had the worst problem with this. I was on the opposite spectrum. I often had total disregard for human life, especially when someone had a disparaging attitude toward everything around them. Never mind that I was mirroring their bad attitude. We've all been treated badly. I know I've had my share of unfair treatment. I know that all of the anger and resentment was building up inside of me tarnishing my view of people, as people are what have hurt me in the past. If you've ever been attacked by a swarm of bees, you just might be resentful and afraid of bees.

But, like I said, as I have grown, I have come to realize that we do things that we cannot help. Either we are unconscious of our actions because they are so ingrained in us that we don't know any better, or we just don't know where to begin the change. I am at least grateful I was given a compassionate heart that I could grow to be more accepting and loving toward my fellow human being, accepting them and loving them for who and what they are. Not always easy, and I am by far not always able to pull it off, but at least it's a start. I admit my shortcomings, and work on it the best I can, every day. It is not weak to admit weakness. It is strength. 
So, what are these words from The Buddha supposed to mean...?

At first glance, this quote seems to be about a mothers love for her child, strong and true, and, it is. But the deeper meaning is the beauty of the quote. A mother’s deep love for her child is the example used to describe how we should all extend our love for one another, as well as "all beings". I believe the Buddha is not just speaking about other 'human' beings, though we should have an open mind and open heart towards all mankind, whatever their differences from us may be. I would like to say that tolerance is a virtue that we, as human beings, should be extending towards one another, but I don't like to use the term "tolerance", as, to me, it implies that I am somehow above that which I must tolerate. I much rather like the term "compassion", as we should all extend compassion for each other’s thoughts, beliefs and feelings. We should hope to be as dominoes triggering a chain reaction from our acts of love and understanding "in regard to all beings".

 As I said, I don't believe this is reserved for humans, alone, but for any being that retains the light of life within it. We are to treat all beings that share this planet with the respect, compassion, and love that we would "our only child". Through this type of compassion for one another and all things, we can certainly start to become the change we wish to experience in this world.

That's worth a bit of banana to me.

Thank you for spending this time with me today.



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