How will we love in 2013?

How will we love in 2013?

Discussion date: Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

When I was a senior in college, I had the good fortune to become friends with a retired Congregational minister who lived nearby. From time to time we would have tea together. One afternoon he told me about his wife of many decades who was then in a nursing home. He told me that his love for her was transforming from eros, passionate love, to agape, unselfish love. It was not a distinction I was familiar with, which perhaps was why he so very skillfully planted this seed in me.

In the decades since I’ve come to understand the critical importance of this subtle movement from self-centered concerns, pleasures, and fears to a more relaxed, inclusive, openhearted orientation to life. It plays a pivotal role in all the spiritual traditions. It is also prominent in myths, literature, and modern psychotherapeutic practice. The mindfulness practice tradition makes a distinction between kama, the craving after sensual pleasures, and metta, the loving kindness we can offer to each other and the world. The Metta Sutta, one of the most popular sutras in the Theravadan Buddhist tradition, begins:

“He or she who wants to attain peace should practice being upright, humble, and capable of using loving speech. He or she will know how to live simply and happily, with senses calmed, without being covetous and carried away by the emotions of the majority. Let him or her not do anything that will be disapproved of by the wise ones.

“(And this is what he or she contemplates): May everyone be happy and safe, and may their hearts be filled with joy.

This Thursday we will pause before the beginning of the next year and consider how we will love in 2013. What are the challenges we face? Where are the opportunities? How can we grow our hearts? How can our mindfulness practice assist us?

We will begin our dharma discussion with a contribution from John, Paul, George, and Ringo. In 1967, the Beatles were asked by the BBC to write a song with a simple message for Our World, the first live global television link. Their song — All You Need Is Love — closed the show and was seen by 400 million people in 26 countries. We will watch a short Youtube video that documents the final taping of the song.

You are invited to be with us this Thursday.

You are also invited to be with us this Tuesday, January 1, for our Still Water New Year’s Day Brunch, 10 am to 1 pm, in Silver Spring, Md. If you are planning to come, it would be helpful if you let us know on line.

Our regular and special Still Water programs exist because of the generosity of those who come to our activities, receive our emails, or simply appreciate what is done. Recently the Still Water Working Group sent out an end-of-the-year letters to many of our regular contributors. The letter is available on line, if you didn’t receive a copy and would like to read it. More information about supporting Still Water is also available on our website.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s engaging translation of the Metta Sutta is below.

Many blessings to you — today and for the New Year.

Mitchell

Mindfulness Trainings Transmission Ceremony, January 5, 2013, Oakton, Va.

Deepening Our Practice: The Science of the Buddha, January 12 to April 7, 2013 in Takoma Park or Columbia, Md.

A Calm Mind and A Joyful Heart: An Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation, January 21, 2013 at Crossings, Silver Spring, Md.

Smiling like a Buddha: A Ten-Session Mindfulness Meditation Class, January 28 to April 15, 2013 at Crossings, Silver Spring, Md.


Metta Sutta — Discourse On Love

“He or she who wants to attain peace should practice being upright, humble, and capable of using loving speech. He or she will know how to live simply and happily, with senses calmed, without being covetous and carried away by the emotions of the majority. Let him or her not do anything that will be disapproved of by the wise ones.

“(And this is what he or she contemplates): May everyone be happy and safe, and may their hearts be filled with joy.

“May all living beings live in Security and in Peace — beings who are frail or strong, tall or short, big or small, visible or not visible, near or far away, already born or yet to be born. May all of them dwell in perfect tranquility.

“Let no one do harm to anyone. Let no one put the life of anyone in danger. Let no one, out of anger or ill will, wish anyone any harm.

“Just as a mother loves and protects her only child at the risk of her own life, we should cultivate Boundless Love to offer to all living beings in the entire cosmos. We should let our boundless love pervade the whole universe, above, below and across. Our love will know no obstacles, our heart will be absolutely free from hatred and enmity. Whether standing or walking, sitting or lying, as long as we are awake, we should maintain this mindfulness of love in our own heart. This is the noblest way of living.

“Free from wrong views, greed and sensual desires, living in beauty and realizing Perfect Understanding, those who practice Boundless Love will certainly transcend Birth and Death.”

—Metta Sutta (Suttanipata 1) from the Plum Village Chanting Book

in: Dharma Topics
Discussion Date: Thu, Dec 27, 2012


Share:

This week
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Sun, September 26 Mon, September 27

Morning Meditation at Crossings

Friends in Different Places

Tue, September 28 Wed, September 29

Morning Meditation at Crossings

Thu, September 30

Evening Practice at Crossings

Fri, October 1

Morning Meditation at Crossings

Sat, October 2

Mindful Artmaking