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Lions Roar : September 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2006 18 contemplating that “Death is real; it comes without warning” when a car almost hits you, your contemplation becomes very short. Your whole life is condensed into a few seconds and from that, you have instant meaning. There was so much you wanted before that moment, and now you’re happy just to be able to walk. Your mind is totally appreciating it. You’ve realized the meaning quickly, and you’ve brought it into experience. When we contemplate love and compassion, we practice contemplating the happiness of others rather than our own. We visualize our mother, our child, or someone else we love, and we start to feel a little bit of caring. We want that person to be happy, which is love. We want them to be free of suffering, which is compassion. That initial feeling is considered to be the source of a limitless love that is in us. As we make it larger, eventually we might be able to say, “May that driver in front of me enjoy hap- piness,” instead of honking our car horn. We can also wish others the root of happiness: the wisdom of knowing good mind. Even though love and compassion are limitless, at first your capacity to generate them may be limited. With skill, you can be realistic about your practice: “That’s about as much love as I’m going to feel today, and that’s fine.” Then stay with the feeling. When it disappears, bring it back to the meditation by repeating the word or sentence you are contemplating. When we’re contemplating love and compassion, we may feel them in just the heart or mind, but this practice is transforming our whole body, putting us in tune with the nature of things. The nature of things is selflessness. We are selfless, but when we’re trying to make what we are into a “self,” we continually butt our head against reality. This tension stirs the prana in our chan- nels, which creates discursiveness, which inflames the emotions, which leads to suffering. Without awareness, we habitually use our mind in this way. When we use compassion as a response, the wisdom that arises is prajna, a sword that cuts through our habitual thought patterns. Our infatuation with ourselves becomes a little less compelling. When we’re off the cushion we can connect to the piece of our mind that is strong. We’re able to see that a friend is having a difficult time and we know how to respond. We’re able to generate compassion throughout the day by accessing the feeling that we had in our morning contemplation. Even when we’re swamped, we can take a breath, come back, and reground ourselves in good mind. If we stick with our practice of cultivating compassion, our good mind will automatically expand, and our ability to bring peace to the world will grow. We’ll still have issues, but through practice we’ll begin to see that we can keep part of our mind dedi- cated to appreciating our good fortune and generating compas- sion. Compassion is a practical response. It opens our heart like a flower responding to the sun. In this simple practice, we’re bring- ing our mind to what it inherently wants—to be of benefit. ♦ Thangkas • Singing Bowls • Rugs Jewelry • Wall Hangings • Malas Statues • Incense • Meditation Cushions Ordained Robes • Much, Much More! Website: www.tibetanspirit.com • Toll Free: 1-888 -327-2890 E-mail: email@example.com • P.O. Box 57 • Boonsboro, MD 21713 We donate a portion of our profits to support Tibetan Buddhist nuns and monks.