Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Love (Compassion) must be cultivated (response to George H.)

Hi George,

I just want to comment on the first paragraph.
from the perspective of what I've been studying
for the past 18 months:
NVC (Nonviolent Communication),
Buddhism, and Yoga.

I think this will be useful for people to read,
so I've replied to Peacenet, cc: Lightworkers, SEW Bookclub.
Hope you don't mind :)

On Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 7:52 AM, George Haeseler <> wrote:

Jesus told us to love thy enemy.  I can not.  I can not even love my neighbor, at least as I apply that term to family, friends, and ice cream.

The word "love" is muddled, as it has so many uses.

A) I love = "I enjoy the pleasurable sensations it provides me"

This applies equally to intimate partners and ice cream.
If your neighbors don't provide you with pleasurable sensations,
it is clear that you don't "love" them in this context.

B) "Love" often connotes "desire to possess" or craving.

Buddhism suggests that craving or attachment to pleasure
is the source of all suffering. (Second Noble Truth).

Note that both A and B usage are both in the realm of
ego-gratification.  ... "gimme gimme what I like!"

Think about true love as being
    more like a gift

     True love is a gift to yourself and everyone
and is also a gift of gratitude to "Divine Source"
     which some might call God, Allah, Krishna, Brahma,
      which some might call "conscious emptiness",
        which some might call
           "the potential which existed before the Big Bang"
        it's all the same thing...

The real form of love,
the kind that Jesus was talking about,
is better translated as "COMPASSION".
This also happens to be the word that is used in Buddhism.
In this context,  it means something like 
"I desire the other to be happy".

Buddhism suggests that in order to be free from suffering,
and to have a peaceful and non-violent world,
that we all need to cultivate compassion:
  • first for ourselves

  • then for our friends and close family
    (for whom it is easy to "love")

  • then for all neutral parties -- people we don't know

  • then for the people whom we feel have hurt us
    (for whom it is difficult for us to "love")
This cultivation of universal compassion
is central to Buddhist practice, and is called "Metta"

Note: this is called "practice" because it requires daily effort.

George continues:

That is why I am not a Christian, or a member of any other religious faith that tries to make me feel guilty over my failure to love indiscriminately. 

The word GUILT struck me here, because NVC (Non-Violent Communication)
speaks about this as being one of the major tools of violence and coercion.

(The complete list being: guilt, shame, praise, blame, duty, obligation, punishment, reward, NVC says we should NEVER let any of these things
motivate our action, nor should we try to motivate others by these means.
It's coercion, a form of violence.

The other trigger word for me was the word "Faith", which is so often
associated with "Belief" and "Dogma".

In Buddhism, there is no requirement for a deity, no faith needed..
There is no forced dogma under threat of eternal hellfire.

(This is why I don't consider Buddhism a religion.
I consider Buddhism to be a technology for peace,
  both inner and outer)

There is only truth, which does not require faith or belief.
Truth can be directly seen and experienced by anyone.

Buddhism provides a tool or technique
for direct exploration of reality and truth
in the here-now of this moment:
Insight meditation (Vipassana)

Back to George:

However, what I can do is to try to understand my enemies, which is a lot better than loving and killing them.

Finally, let's talk about "enemies".

I have observed throughout my life that
the culture of war is maintained
by the creation of "enemy images".

NVC says this directly.

Yoga says:
We are all made of the same divine stuff!

So...when we talk about enemies,
we should ask:

Who is your enemy?
and who is the "you"
who is asking?

The ancient rishis who wrote the Vedas
more than 3,500 years ago,
discovered this simple truth:

We are all God.
We all have God within.
We are reflections of God.
We are all Buddha Nature.

The Bible says the same thing:
  we are made in God's image.

As Joni says,
"We are Stardust. We are golden!
And we've got to get ourselves
back to the Garden!"

I don't know the full history of Christianity,
but I suspect the concept

we are fallen from Grace,
expelled from the Garden,
born in sin
born apart from God, etc.

was inserted by early capitalists
in order to exploit us
in 100 different ways
by selling us fear and desire.

And it's worked well
for over 2,000 years.

To my eyes and experience
this is clearly a false doctrine.
It contradicts my direct experience.
I cannot see how this belief
provides any benefit,
and it seems to be quite harmful.

How can there be anything
which is not made of God-stuff?

When we realize we are all one,
that we are all (in essence) God,
and therefore we are one with God
all of the time.

When we realize
there is no part of the Universe
which is apart from God.

When we realize
Separation is an illusion,
it's the ego-maker,
it's a convenient delusion,
which binds us to the realm
of ego and others,
us and them,

When we realize this:

and I don't simply mean
an intellectual "knowing",
   thoughts, words, ideas, concepts,

but a seeing
of true connection and interdependence,
that we all arise from a common source,
to know this with every nerve in our bodies
to see this down to the deepest core
of truth and reality,

our whole concept of "having an enemy"
falls apart like a poorly tied knot.

And guess what happens to war?

We don't need to vote: that won't change anything.
We don't need to carry signs: doesn't really help much.
We don't need to get angry at THAT BASTARD BUSH!!:

   this just perpetuates the problem of
    the false perception of separateness (ego).

This ideation of ONE-consciousness
should be cultivated, as one would
tend to a garden,
weeding, watering, nurturing with care.

This means daily practice.
Practice means effort
and time spent doing.

And when we all do this,
we expand into a groovy dimension
where knotted concepts like "enemies"
are impossible.

Fear and craving? Unnecessary.

When we meditate,
it's like inoculating ourselves
against "catching a war".

And like vaccines against pandemic,
this has a greater effect
if more of us get involved
by choosing to sit, quietly,
and practice.

This naturally yields
happiness and compassion!
Not by guilt or coercion.

Result: we love ourselves,
we love our neighbors,
we love God...

We do this naturally!
Breathing with joy the breath of life!

The Buddhists say
being born of human form is rare.

So many things to do
    and enjoy in this realm!

Why are we spending time being angry?
Anger is like drinking poison,
or splashing battery acid on others.
Anger is a suicide bomb.

It doesn't help, and most often
anger makes things worse.

It is destruction... why focus on that?
when we could just as easily be creating!

We would better expend our energies
expressing gratitude
for the gift of this experience!
this life, this perfect moment:
here now
so subtle and rare,
constructed of ecstatic, vibrating stardust!
unique in all history!

Or else working in the service of others.

Because before you know it,
it's all going to be over.
This body will surely die.
Life in this realm will be over.

The Yoga Sutras say there are five Kleshas,
or causes of suffering. They are
ego (false separateness),  craving pleasure (clinging/attachment),
aversion (hate/anger), and ignorance of the true nature of self/reality.

The final Klesha is clinging to life, or fear of death.
We should understand this is a natural process,
it's not really an end of anything real or permanent.
It is not something to fear.

Fear is the opposite of Love (Compassion).
So if we can work on ourselves,
to purify ourselves of these defilements,
we will be happy, and we will be giving happiness to the world.

I know this to be truth:
this is the only way
to have peace on earth!

Be the change we want to see in the world.

Buddhists often say:
"May all beings be Happy".

I like to say,

May all beings
awaken to the truth
that happiness is a choice
we all can freely make
at any place or time.

Reminder: SEW Bookclub, River Read Books,
Saturday Mar 7 @11am
will explore these concepts.
Selection: Against the Stream, Noah Levine


Bill Huston
Binghamton NY
607-321-7846 c

email:  WilliamAHuston at gmail

No comments: