Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Man At the Grocery Store

During Ayya Khema's Flower Garden metta meditation, his face came up. An almost stranger. A clerk at the neighborhood grocery store. The nun asked that I pick up a beautiful bouquet of flowers from the garden in my heart, and that I hand it to the man. 

I felt the hesitation, the mind's reluctance, the heart closing its gate. The mind, my mind said, this man, you barely know him. He does not fit the criteria for so much love. A smile, a kind word, that you can give, just as you do whenever he rings you up and the two of you do some small talk. But boundless love, as much as you would give to your daughter, my mind had a problem with that. 

The mind's got ideas about what's needed to be worthy of my love. Never mind that we are the first one to suffer. Why not open the gates? Let it flow . . . 

Earlier today, I was listening to a talk from Ayya Khema, and she talked about how pretty much all of us are not capable of unconditional love. We've got limits, and the trick is in recognizing when we don't love, because then, we can change and correct our stinginess. We are in trouble if we delude ourselves into thinking that we love everybody. 

The man at the grocery store showed me the work I have to do still in the area of love. 


  1. Great post - thank you. Watching the mind is so powerful and can hold us back from experiencing so abundance life has to offer us, most importantly when that abundance doesn't come in a form we accept...

  2. I don't know if this might interest you but I know an old Christian Brother (he is now 93) who met Ayya Khema at an Interfath conference and was very impressed with her.She must have felt the same about him because they stayed in touch until she died. In fact she dedicated one of her books to him. He has an active interest in Buddhism and sometimes is invited to stay at a Buddhist monastery and live there as one of the monks for a week or so. He has many friends there and they treat him with great respect and kindness. He was very close to Ajahn Sumedho before Sumedho retired as abbot and went back to Thailand. I think this is a wonderful example of how people who come from different traditions can have a really common bond at a very deep level.

  3. Thank you Mindful one. Yes, mindfulness is such a gift!

  4. Michael, thank you for sharing that story about the monk. Made me smile . . .