Sunday, February 14, 2010

Being present to Love

What a curious coincidence: It's Valentine's Day, and the Thomas meditation I opened for today was entitled "Heart."


More importantly, it referred to the idea of Presence, and that's a theme I really want to talk about today.

For the last several weeks there have been ads on TV for the new Valentines Day movie that's coming out. And prominently featured in those ads is a shot of a woman (I'm pretty sure it's Jennifer Garner) hacking furiously away at a heart-shaped pinata: clearly she has been "disappointed in Love."

For all that Valentine's Day is supposed to be about love, the fact is that all too often it DOES seem to be about disappointment. I'll take the liberty of restricting this next sentence to the feminine perspective, since, in my experience, men seem to get that this is "just a Hallmark holiday." The spectrum of Valentinian disappointment seems to range from "There's no man in my life" through a wealth of possibilities for failure: he didn't remember, or he didn't get me flowers, or he didn't get me the RIGHT flowers, or he got pink saltwater taffy instead of chocolate, or he got me a blender instead of a ring... I suspect we've all been there at one time or another.

So here's why Presence is important: we can choose to sit with that disappointment, be present to it. Instead of throwing things, or hitting things, or whining, shouting, crying or simply stuffing the hurt, we can be present to whatever level of discomfort is there, and sense the holy longing that lies beneath the pain.

Because each of us, no matter what sex, no matter how famous or humble, wealthy or poor, carries around that holy longing, that hunger for love. And the good news is this: if we allow ourselves to feel that longing, we can then begin to sense the deeper reservoir of love and longing that lies beneath, glowing like this beautiful rose. That rose, that reservoir of love and beauty, is in fact God's longing for us. Our longing is fueled by our separation from the Holy, and it is that very longing -- ours for God, and God's for us -- which ultimately pulls us back into the oneness which lies at the root of our craving.

And if we can be present to that longing, and be conscious about knowing that it exists in all the other souls whose lives we share, we can perhaps begin to find a way to assuage our own longing by dipping into the reservoir and offering love to those around us.

I know. This all sounds very preachy. But I do honestly believe it's true: it's a little like the Buddhist practice of Tonglen.

So stop.

Breathe consciously for a bit.

And when you breathe in, breathe in the longing of all the other beings in the world who hunger -- as you do -- for love.

When you come to the end of that in-breath, hold for a moment, and see if you can tap into the love and blessings that DO exist in your life.

Now. Breathe that love out into the world.

Repeat -- and begin to feel the Love that waits for you.

Okay -- I have to catch a ferry, so there's no time to edit this. If I'm full of it, just tell me. But otherwise, well -- just know that there IS love out there, though it may not always take the form you hope for. May you have a chance to feel that love today.

Amen -- and peace.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Don't you just hate whining?!

Seriously, this deserves a "Here, here" or it "hear, hear"?

Hugs (though I know Yours will give you some, too).