It is such a treat to be included in the Great Buddho-blogging Article Swap, sponsored by Nate DeMontigny, from Precious Metal blog. Today, as part of the swap, Jaye Seiho Morris and I are trading blogs. Seiho is posting on Mind Deep blog, and I am writing on his blog, Digital Zendo. I can't remember where I first 'met' Seiho first, Twitter, or this blog, but since then, he and I have been supporting each other with the gift of our spiritual friendship.
As people we hold any number of policies and rules, within our mind. For me, my experience with Zen (the practice of unifying the mind) gives me an opportunity to look, sit with and come to know my internal operating system. The one I've been spending a lot of time with on the sitting cushion is the "Policy of Caring."
Today if You asked me to summarize my Zen practice, "Learning to consistently express, a policy of caring" would be my answer. The attributes that I associate with the policy of caring are; Hope, honesty, active listening, kindness, mindfulness, open-ness of heart, attentiveness, fortitude and to be vested in each other. In applying the attributes mentioned above, we are enabled to see well beyond our own experiences and appreciate the life and effort of others.
Yesterday, in a comment to me, a person wrote something which deeply moved me. He said, "I have lived a fairly nomadic lifestyle over the past 3 years: 2 major moves for downsizing and financial reasons and many micro moves for abatement and PTSD issues. I"m still healing from some traumatic events (stalker, sexual assault, workplace bullying, financial hemorrhaging, getting robbed, loss of friends in the mess of it all, judgmental family members... 5 Christmas mornings alone (2 in hotels) and equal birthdays (Dec 26) and New Years eve's on my own. I have done alright with it... chosen my own company and blessed those whom I wished to be with but was not. "
In another instance, I know someone who struggles with the nature of a relationship to their significant other, unsure if the person will ever arrive emotionally. In another instance, a person verbalized anxiety and frustration in a job, feeling undervalued and unappreciated. I listened to someone scared their children would be upset if they couldn't give them the gifts they really wanted at Christmas. In still another instance, I encountered someone fearful they would not be able to stay sober over the holidays, because of feelings of loneliness.
Everyone seems to have something, large or small that contributes to suffering or a feeling of not being at home with ourselves. It's all there. The question is are we caring enough to see the person… hear the person… feel the person… take a moment to understand the person...
Once we recognize suffering, an opportunity presents itself for us to be an expression of caring. This can take on innumerable forms. Despite the many different ways of expression, the one thing they are have in common is moving off the sidelines, being engaged, reaching out and making an effort to connect hearts and minds. The gap and distance is shortened, if not dissolved altogether.
This is my point of appreciation, having the opportunity to write on Marguerite's blog today. Her efforts as a wife… a hospice volunteer… a writer… a friend… a human being…. and her willingness to discuss the process, especially as it reflects within her practice is a kindness that's not designed to be measured. It's a simple gift. It's "Shu Jo Mu Hen Sei Gan Do." In english this means, "However innumerable all beings are, I vow to help them all." Indeed simple but so very profound.
Put another way, it's the policy of caring, put into action. It is an effort that ripples out, through our lives, improving the texture and quality of This moment. As a human being, I continue to learn so much, by that paths travelled by others.
May All Beings Be Caring,
Seiho Jaye Morris, Friend.