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Lions Roar : March 2017
PHOTO©JENGRANTHAM/STOCKSYUNITED Greatest Love of All When you incorporate Buddhism’s four immeasurables into your life, your love won’t be attached to just one person, says LODRO RINZLER. It will flow freely, and you can offer it to everyone you encounter. HOT OFF THE PRESS IN 1993, A DANCE SINGLE titled “What Is Love?” (by Haddaway) swept the nation. It was a simple song, but catchy. The refrain—“Baby, don’t hurt me no more”—also identified a crucial connection: love and heartbreak go hand in hand. When you make yourself vul- nerable to someone through the act of love, you are making yourself open to all the pleasures of that experience. But you are also making yourself open to the pain of being hurt by that person. I don’t know of anyone who has fallen in love with someone who has not, in some way, been hurt by that person. That particular sword cuts both ways: when we fall in love with someone we bring them happiness, but there are also times when we will inevitably hurt them too. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t love. In fact, we couldn’t stop loving others if we tried. From a Buddhist point of view, love is innate to who we are. When we’re hurt, we may try to shut down our heart and not be available for love. We want to protect ourselves so we throw up some armor and try to harden ourselves against the world. Yet underneath all that armor, there is always some part of us that yearns to love. We all have a limitless amount of love to give, if we can get that armor off ourselves. How do we drop our guard enough to experience this love? My Buddhist teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, once said, “True love is the natural energy of our settled mind.” The more we are able to settle our mind, in meditation or through other means, the more likely we will be able to touch the love that exists right underneath that set of armor. In my tradition, Shamb- hala, we call that armor a cocoon. This cocoon is something we spin to hide out from our world. It’s an illusory device that we think will shield us from suffering. It’s the myriad ways we spin a web of neurosis and self-pro- tection. We have some really thick thread we create, made out of story lines about our- selves like “You’re worthless,” or “You’ll never find anyone who gets you,” or my favorite, “Everyone else will settle down with someone else and be happy but you.” We can armor up a cocoon pretty quickly when we let those story lines spin out, in this radical attempt to protect our tender heart. Meditation is a tool for snipping the cords on these various threads of uncer- tainty and unearthing our raw and ten- der heart underneath. That vulnerable heart is incredibly powerful and strong. It is resilient. It possesses fathomless love. If we can drop our story lines around what a jerk we are, that powerful heart is ready to shine forth and cultivate a life that is full of good people we love and are loved by. Don’t take my word for it, though. Try out meditation practice and see for yourself whether it unearths your ability to love more deeply. Four main qualities make up the notion of love in every Buddhist tradition: From Love Hurts, © 2016 by Lodro Rinzler. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications. 8SFRPLQJ 5HWUHDW 0DUFK &RPH H[SORUH WKH LQLWLDWLRQV RI WKH 6DFUHG )HPLQLQH ZLWK ,VD *XFFLDUGL DQG 5REHUW 7KXUPDQ &RQWDFW XV IRU PRUH LQIRUPDWLRQ RU WR UHJLVWHU (PEUDFLQJ WKH 6DFUHG )HPLQLQH LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2017 72