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Lions Roar : July 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2006 63 says, “cultivating the good,” and that means “recovering the in- candescent power of love that is present as a potential in all of us” and using “the tools of spiritual practice to sustain our real, moment-to-moment experience of that vision.” To be trans- formed by the practice of love is to be born again, to experience spiritual renewal. What I witness daily is the longing for that renewal and the fear that our lives will be changed utterly if we choose love. That fear paralyzes. It leaves us stuck in the place of suffering. When we commit to love in our daily life, habits are shat- tered. We are necessarily working to end domination. Because we no longer are playing by the safe rules of the status quo, rules that if we obey guarantee us a specific outcome, love moves us to a new ground of being. This movement is what most people fear. If we are to galvanize the collective longing for spiritual well-being that is found in the practice of love, we must be more willing to identify the forms that longing will take in daily life. Folks need to know the ways we change and are changed when we love. It is only by bearing concrete witness to love’s transformative power in our daily lives that we can assure those who are fearful that commitment to love will be redemptive, a way to experience salvation. Lots of people listen and affirm the words of visionary teachers who speak on the necessity of love. Yet they feel in their everyday lives that they simply do not know how to link theory and practice. When Thich Nhat Hanh tells in Transfor- mation and Healing that “understanding is the very founda- tion of love and compassion,” that “if love and compassion are in our hearts, every thought, word, and deed can bring about a miracle,” we are moved. We may even feel a powerful surge of awareness and possibility. Then we go home and find ourselves uncertain about how to realize true love. I remember talking deeply with Thich Nhat Hanh about a love relationship in which I felt I was suf- fering. In his presence I was ashamed to confess the depths of my anguish and the intensity of my anger toward the man in my life. Speaking with such tenderness he told me, “Hold on to your anger and use it as compost for your garden.” Listening to these wise words I felt as though a thousand rays of light were shining throughout my being. I was certain I could go home, let my light shine, and everything would be better; I would find the promised happy ending. The reality was that commu- nication was still difficult. Finding ways to express true love re- quired vigilance, patience, a will to let go, and the creative use of the imagination to invent new ways of relating. Thich Nhat Hanh had told me to see the practice of love in this tumultu- ous relationship as spiritual practice, to find in the mind of Star Mandala, 2006, jacquard tapestry, 75 x 100 inches. COURTESYOFTHEARTISTANDMAGNOLIAEDITIONS,OAKLAND,CA ➢ page 90