Today was Dharma Practice Day with Gil, the first in a series dealing with the 7 Factors of Awakening. We spent the day exploring mindfulness, the first factor. Of course, I enjoyed the company of other people from the IMC community, and the gentle wisdom from Gil. What was so remarkable about the day however, had nothing to do with the formal teaching. No, it happened in the privacy of the first morning sitting, and I want to share it because it's so good.
Sitting, I started to feel all of me, like never before. No longer distant, or oblivious. But instead, close and intimate. Melting into each breath, holding my heart, and my body, and my thoughts, and all of my emotions, regardless. I became overcome with the same kind of total love that came to me when my children were born, and I held them, for the first time. Only now, I was holding myself. With great tenderness. And the realization of the monumental change, taking place. My heart, opening, onto itself. So, that is what it was supposed to feel like . . . No thoughts, only love. And tears.
I asked myself, why only now? Why did it take so long? To love one self should not be so difficult. And I remembered Pascal's words: "The heart has its reasons that reason doesn't know". The seeds of love can only take hold after the soil has been plowed, and fertilized, and watered, and all the weeds have been pulled. If I had not experienced so much suffering, if I hadn't come across the Buddha's teachings, if I had not been ready to make a leap of faith, if I had not practiced mindfulness, if I hadn't investigated, if I hadn't . . . the conditions inside would not have been there.
Of course, there will be more winters, and times of alienation, and of feeling at odds. And they will feel different, because of that one moment earlier today, when I dissolved into pure love.