I have been thinking about the foundations of spiritual practice, about what it means to be human and about what we are hoping the temple will become a container for.
Sometimes our hearts are open to things as they are and the concerns of body and mind drop away. We are sweeping up leaves but it feels like there is nobody sweeping, just hands moving a brush and no worries, no busy mind, just peace and spaciousness and the leaves are being swept.
Sometimes our hearts are open to things as they are and we are moved to tears by the suffering in the world; by witnessing the climate and ecological crisis, or listening to the story of the person in front of us, or remembering grief and loss in our own life. Sometimes we move from a feeling of deep personal sorrow to what Suzuki Roshi called the ‘great grief’, a welling up of tears for the whole world.
Sometimes our hearts are open to things as they are and naturally we wish for the well-being of others, sometimes we sit with this and send that love out into the world, and sometimes it moves us into taking compassionate action.
Sometimes our hearts are open to things as they are and we feel a deep sense of gratitude for the infinite love and wisdom of the Buddhas that is ever-present in the universe.
Sometimes our hearts are closed. Our senses are dulled; we are tired and feeling low and want to curl up under a duvet. Or we are reactive and frustrated and everything is just wrong. Or we close our hearts by distracting ourselves, by diving into compulsive behaviour.
Sometimes our hearts are closed and we feel awful and we long for something better and we’ve run out of steam to make any changes so we call out to the infinite love of the Buddhas trusting that whatever state we are in and however little we can do for ourselves (sometimes the meditating cushion feels impossibly hard to get to) we are received and held by that love.
Sometimes our hearts are closed and the light of the Buddhas allows us to open them a little more. To be curious about what created that closing and to be more open to things as they are.
This is our spiritual practice, remembering the qualities of our own open hearts, remembering the dullness and reactivity of being human, and remembering the love of the Buddha reaching out towards us and all living things.
Namo Amida Bu