Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Affecting the Lives of Others
As I travel on this path I have chosen for myself I am constantly reminded how wondrous the panoply of life truly is. Some reminders are small in nature, whispers if you will, like when a child that doesn't even know you reaches for your hand laughing or a little dog dances for joy when you approach him on the street. Other signs are proportionately larger (not whispers but bricks) depending on how receptive I am to the truth of the moment. "Truth of the Moment" I call it because no matter how much learning I undergo my view or knowledge of a situation is ultimately my view. Not yours, not you mother's, not Buddha's or Jesus'. If I take the time to be mindful and present during the moment at hand I am substantially more open to the true nature (as true as my mind interprets it) of whatever is happening.
It is easy at times to absorb and appreciate a moment for what it is...Happiness when a friend genuinely enjoys your company or a party full of laughter and singing. Or shared pain and kindness as you comfort a friend at a funeral of their parent. Experiencing happiness and sadness mindfully makes for a person who is more balanced capable of being of greater service to the world and to themselves.
I have had many "aware" moments in the past week. I went to the funeral of my dear friend's father. I went to the funeral of another friend's sister. I performed at a Memorial Day party with other friends well into the night. We sang, harmonized and ate wonderful food. I watched as a person who is struggling terribly with alcoholism actually smiled from ear to ear for about three hours...Listening, laughing, singing and experiencing true fellowship. He got more out of that party than a week's worth of therapy. I listened as a dear friend cried and cried over the phone only to tell me I was a gift from above simply because I listened and told them they were worth while. I read amazing words in an email about me from my friend Peter who appreciates this blog and what I do with my heart...with my words (for the record I truly do not deserve even a modicum of what Peter wrote. It was that amazing). And, again at my Tuesday night Zen group, my Canadian friend Aubrey approached me and made a point to tell me how much he enjoys the Italian Buddhist and how he benefits from my candor and heartfelt views.
That's quite a bit in one week isn't it? Processing a situation with a mindful eye is very good in many respects. Most importantly it enables me to appreciate the happiness, sadness, gratitude or pain for what it really is and not some cartoonized version designed in my head to make the moment easier to take. I have proper footing. I am poised to learn more and act with right speaking and right listening.
Being mindful of the moment and my actions does not just affect me...This is the gist of what I am trying to relate here. EVERY ACTION I TAKE IN MY LIFE HAS AN AFFECT ON OTHERS AND THE WORLD AROUND ME. Just by attempting to listen more instead of being so quick to throw advice at someone or wishing happiness on a store clerk that is scowling changes the world. Your little whispers add up to a giant hurricane of compassion, love and truth. Gestures small or large decrease samsara (suffering) and open the eyes of all living things. People remarked and said wonderful things to me just because I simply did the things that are right to do. I did not do anything for recognition. I did the things because that is what I do. In a world where people thirst for even the slightest act of loving kindness or understanding I can make a difference with tiny actions not just sweeping motions. No fanfare...no boasting...just quiet "right" actions. So you see, I make the earth a better place and, selfishly, I get to grow, learn and enjoy myself in the process.
Here is a universal Sufi evening prayer. It is soft and beautiful. If you do not believe in a Creator God or Higher Power I suggest replacing such phrases with "The Universe" or "Sky."
I am thankful for all of you and I bow to the Divine in you.