Dharma Topic: Love is Indiscriminate

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Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday, December 1, we will begin ourhalf-hour orientation at 6:30pm. If you have questions about Still Wateror about the basic mindfulness practices of breathing, sitting, and walking,please come. Experienced practitioners are also encouraged to attend to sharetheir questions and insights.

Lately I’ve been reflecting on how and when I offer my loveto people. It’s always been easy for me to love someone who loves me, and whoshows deep caring for me. It’s less easy with someone who is relatively neutraltoward me. And for most of my life, it has seemed downright impossible to lovesomeone who has hurt me.

But as my heart has opened more over the years, I’ve come tosee that I have a deep, profound desire to love. I don’t mean a particularperson — but to love. Period. My desire doesn’t ebb just because I’ve been hurtor wronged in some way — though it may be more difficult to access. And thereis a pure, authentic love in me that makes my heart feel full, regardless of whoit’s shining on. So why is it that most of the time, I still choose to shine thelight on some people, but not on others?

Anthony de Mello, in The Way to Love, wrote aboutattaining the quality of love that is indiscriminate, like a rose that offersits fragrance to anyone, good or bad; a lamp that lights the way even for onewho is wicked; a tree that provides shade even to the person who is going to cutit down. He said,

How does one attain this quality of love? Anything you do will only make it forced, cultivated and therefore phony, for love cannot be forced. There is nothing you can do. But there is something you can drop. Observe the marvelous change that comes over you the moment you stop seeing people as good and bad, as saints and sinners and begin to see them as unaware and ignorant. You must drop your false belief that people can sin in awareness. No one can sin in the light of awareness. Sin occurs, not, as we mistakenly think, in malice, but in ignorance. … To see this is to acquire the indiscriminate quality one so admires in the rose, the lamp and the tree.

Who, when, and why do we love? You are invited to exploreyour own questions this Thursday evening after our sitting.