May all sentient beings…

IMGYogaHandsOffer1May all sentient beings enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.

May we be free from suffering and the root of suffering.

May we not be separated from the great happiness devoid of suffering.

May we dwell in the great equanimity free from passion, aggression, and prejudice.

—The Four Limitless Ones from Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chödrön—

In honoring the 49 lives lost this past Sunday during the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, as well as the survivors, family members, friends, and the community-at-large, I offer the Four Limitless Ones chant and carry it with me throughout these days in my heart, my words, and my actions.

“To move from aggression to unconditional loving-kindness can seem like a daunting task. But we start with what’s familiar,” says Chödrön in Comfortable with Uncertainty. She offers a formal seven-step practice to awaken loving-kindness.

The first step in the practice involves starting with awakening loving kindness for yourself by reciting the first line from the Four Limitless Ones chant. From there, each step involves awakening loving-kindness for others starting with those who spontaneously come to mind, to friends or neighbors, to those individuals you feel neutral about, to those you dislike, and so on and so forth.

In practicing awakening loving-kindness you allow your heart to open to acceptance and understanding. Understanding can go a long way in bridging differences among people, in bringing communities together, and in promoting peace.

 

 

 

On love, days later

Love days later

Love days later

What happens when you peel back the layers of long-lasting love? What do you find when you step outside of the experience of love and examine it from a distance? What does it look like from the sky?

When I read Pablo Neruda’s “100 Love Sonnets: Cien sonetos de amor,” I get the feeling that he traveled to the depths of his soul and to the ends of space as he explored his feelings on love writing to his muse, his wife, Matilde Urrutia.

He tells her at the beginning as translated by Stephen Tapscott, “My beloved wife, I suffered while I was writing these misnamed “sonnets;” they hurt me and caused me grief, but the happiness I feel in offering them to you is vast as a savanna.”

Neruda manages to capture the expansiveness of love, its infinite nature, as he embraces universal elements to give it shape when it truly has no shape.

Here is an excerpt from one of my favorites, “XLVIII.”

Two happy lovers make one bread,

a single moon drop in the grass.

Walking, they cast two shadows that flow together;

Waking, they leave one sun empty in their bed.

 In Spanish:

Dos amantes dichosos hacen un solo pan,

una sola gota de luna de hierba,

dejan andando dos sombras que se reúnen,

dejan un solo sol vacío en una cama.