I have an ever deepening sense of contentment, gratitude and love for my life. This is priceless wealth beyond measure. One I did not alway know. Even years into my Zen practice, deep down in my heart I felt unlovable and undeserving. I was subtly yet constantly living as though I’d never have or be enough. I’d never have enough love or understanding, never enough money, or time, or friends, or esteem… Never enough.
Wouldn’t the world benefit immeasurably if the world’s people could rest in contentment, gratitude and love? Isn’t this what our world needs from us now?
Then, one day as I mindlessly, you might say, habitually, sent thoughts of loving-kindness to the gas station attendant filling my tank, I suddenly saw like never before. I saw the pure, untouched yet knowable current of love in my heart. This current of love had all along, patiently and gently urged on my own quest for well being and happiness, even in my days of greatest darkness. There it was. I felt it, touched it, knew it as real.
When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes – I already have everything that I really need.’ ~Dalai Lama
There it was, this priceless wealth, this uncontrived, simmering-pot of love right there in the midst of this priceless life.
This ever present love is the mysterious source of my wish for my own happiness. It also urges on my wish for the happiness of the whole world. And this mysterious, unquenchable, unbiased love can arises in each person’s heart naturally and knowably.
You, too simply want to be happy, safe, healthy, and unafraid in your life. And you want this for everyone you know and love. You know this is true because you know yourself. Equally, this treasure at the heart of your life is even more notable and forcefully present if you give it your attention. If you patiently, persistently, and courageously invite it to arise.
Not surprisingly, for as long as we have our hearts, we can cultivate this love. Please, check out this two-minute video from the leading advocate of loving-kindness practice in America, Sharon Salzberg. In the video, she talks about how she’s woven mindfulness and loving-kindness practice into her life: youtube.com/watch?v=ow80k_wMg28
From that taste of insight at the gas station, I’ve grown always more confident that each of us can find and live by this treasure beyond measure.
“Every day is a Good day.”~Zen Master Yun Men
Most importantly, without touching this inner love, the simplicity, sanity, contentment and gratitude that is our birthright seemed always out of reach. Now, rather than feeling mired in discontentment, I can rest and appreciate my life. I’ve stopped chasing.
All our chasing after this and that and whatever-it-may-be, isn’t this chasing making a wreck of our world right now? Wouldn’t the world benefit immeasurably if we could rest in contentment, gratitude and love? Isn’t this what our world needs from us now?
Here is a wonderfully beautiful 5-minute reflection on the gift of today from Brother David Steindl-Rast. Please watch. It’s beautiful. I promise.
Please visit Sweeping Heart Zen if and when the spirit moves you. We’re in historic Gloucester on Boston’s North Shore. Here’s a link to our calendar: sweepingheartzen.org/events/
I hope you have a wonderful week!