Vastness, Equanimity, Selflessness

In the final issue of Inquiring Mind, the article "The Dharma is Here to Stay: A Conversation between Jack Kornfeld & Trudy Goodman" includes some extraordinarily insightful observations. Kornfeld begins by describing what really seems to help people who come to his mindfulness-meditation center:

First we try to help them quiet their minds and tend to their hearts. People need to do this in order to have the capacity to be present with the difficult stuff. Our cultural habit is to keep distracted—open the refrigerator or go online. In contrast, as teachers we want to give people a practice and a place to do that practice where they are respected for their hearts' capacity to be present.

It is also helpful for people to experience the impersonal nature of suffering—just as I suffer, everyone suffers—to realize that difficulty and loss are part of the human condition and that they're not alone in their situation.


Also important are the practices of vastness, equanimity and selflessness, not as a denial but as perspective. In developing equanimity practice toward others, though we care, we include the phrase, "Your happiness and suffering depend on your thoughts and actions and not my wishes for you." As we repeat those phrases, we are in touch with the play of each individual life taking place in the vastness of space and time—maha kalpas of time. Attending Dharma teaching or a retreat is an invitation to step out of ordinary time into the present, and into eternity. We can realize that we're part of something unimaginably great and mysterious, a cosmos that includes birth and death, joy and sorrow, gain and loss, praise and blame. We gain the capacity to feel the currents of life in a more gracious way.

More to follow ...

^z - 2015-06-04