Saying For Today: As you feel more deeply for others, you feel more deeply joy.
I am drawn to you for God is drawn to God Home is drawn to Home Love is drawn to Love
On a day over 15 years ago, when the presence of someone I had not met before broke into my life, and my presence broke into his life.... A joyous splitting of the veil of otherness happened, timeless. Kindness we shared, one kindness. Call it fate, if you wish, or divine providence, if you wish; regardless, the communion is new now, as fresh today as then. We find in such kindly, timeless sharings a replenishing of our self-offering to the communion of Life. Love is there, happening.
This meeting I will speak of today. Possibly, you will recall such a meeting with another that graced then and graces now your life. You may see anew that we are always changed, our lives always enlarged, by such intimate moments of meeting heart-with-heart.
* * *
He was homeless in Gainesville, Florida, USA. I met him at the homeless shelter, where he, with many other homeless, came to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. I served as pastor at a nearby church. Being single, with no family nearby to share Thanksgiving with, I decided to serve at the shelter.
After assisting in meal preparation, the men and women outside waiting at the back door, in a long line, were invited in. I was assigned to assist in keeping the line in order and moving. I positioned myself near the door and began speaking to those incoming and giving directions.
My parents had raised me to express courtesy with "thank you" and "please," and other social gestures of respect and kindness. As I spoke directions to those incoming, I said, "Thank you" as the line moved as directed. Also, in giving directions, I used "please." I thought nothing of it, speaking with such civility was second-nature to me, again, thanks to my upbringing.
A middle-aged man stepped up close to me, he leaned over to speak softly, privately. He expressed gratitude that I had spoken so kindly to him, "No one has ever spoken that way to me before." I could see in his eyes gratitude, and that such kindness had humbled him. We would say in the culture I was born, "It touched his heart." My kindness surprised him, I was surprised by his kindness. There was only one kindness present.
In that moment, if I understand your teachings, there was no you the pastor meeting him the homeless man?
True. No pastor. No homeless man. The following story from Buddhism tells of this kinship wherein oneness is and distinction is not:
The great Tibetan teacher Dromtönpa was once circumambulating a temple with a few of his disciples. Circumambulation is a traditional practice of showing respect to an object of veneration. At the outer edge of the circumambulation path, a stray dog was lying on the ground. Instead of walking down the middle of the path, Dromtönpa purposely went around the dog so as to include it in the circle of veneration. When one of his disciples asked him why he was paying such respect to a stray dog, Dromtönpa said, "I’m not paying respect to a dog. I’m paying respect to a being whose nature is enlightened."
As we are drawn closer and closer to the Center, we find more and more the Center is totally here and totally everywhere, in our one self and in everyone the same Presence, the same Grace. Wonderful are the moments the veil parts and we realize this, wonderful the moment the veil parts a last time and our heart never closes to anyone or anything again.
There comes a time you can't close your heart. True?
Correct, and you cannot predict that moment or know it in advance. Then, you will never again open your heart, it always is open, and, anyway, that is our natural way of being.
Seems this could become overwhelming?
As you feel more deeply for others, you feel more deeply joy. There is a hidden Wellspring that sustains you with peace. Love is ever self-renewing Life.
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*Story of Dromtönpa, from Dzigar Kongtrul. Training in Tenderness: Buddhist Teachings on Tsewa, the Radical Openness of Heart That Can Change the World.
*The theme of "Lotus of the Heart" is 'Living in Love beyond Beliefs.' This work is presented by Brian K. Wilcox, of Maine, USA. You can order Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, through major online booksellers.