My dear friends,
Namaste to you after a period of silence. I’m smiling as I write in this space today. Sometimes words are such a gift!
Last week, I had the wonderful gift of being in a week long retreat at IMS. This was a silent metta retreat. Metta in pali, means loving kindness-the quality of the heart to love unconditionally. The Buddha described the feeling of metta as that which a mother cow bestows on her new born. A heart filled with love. wishing her newborn well. love that is simple and unconditional.
To discover this loving heart feels like opening the curtains to the soul. To see it with all of its qualities, with kindness. Everything is acceptable by this loving heart. The heart which loves knows no boundaries or limits. A heart which is open-it reminds me of the grass in the early morning, glistening with dew drops. Knowing that it cannot know the future. and reveling in the mistiness. shining in wisdom.
Being on a retreat is obviously not all fun. Cultivating an open heart also means facing up to all the baggage we carry. There were days when I had cried so much that I was exhausted. My heart was feeling emotions it had never known existed or felt before. Everything from seeing a flower bloom to rain to drinking tea and eating and cleaning seemed to evoke a response from the heart abiding in love. From a practical stand-point, staying with hunger at night after having just tea and soup at 5.00 pm was certainly interesting. It reminded me of what it is to be alive. All of it. and I liked being alive 🙂
Coming back from the retreat-Ah! I’m one of those that always has a hard time letting go. Longing for more of that safe haven. And yet-it was time to come back to my place in this world. And in fact, as I worked on letting go of my attachment to feeling a certain way this week, things seem to fall in place. There is even an excitement-it is as if I have put on a much-needed pair of spectacles and suddenly everything has come into focus.
Most of all, it is the understanding we all need: that everything is perfect just the way it is. Nothing has to be changed. That agony and ecstasy are all part of this heart. Everything passes. We just live on. ordinary moments. with love and grace.
Metta to all,