I love this line. It reminds me that there are some extraordinary and yet simple qualities in this life that we simply don’t have to work on. They exist without our willing them to.
Examples: our breath, the beauty of a sunset, love & good will, the life force of the human body, our thoughts both chaotic and brilliant, fog rolling in off the ocean, a passing stranger who says “good morning,” our beating heart, a silver moon hanging in the sky, hungering for happiness…
There is a teaching by the Buddha that wants to be uttered this morning in particular: “Hatred never ceased by hatred, but by love alone.”
Yes. Love. That is the key.
Despite the mean spirited theater unfolding at the Republican Convention, I believe, as I have for a long time now, that humans are basically kind and decent, and wish their fellow beings well. So what are we to say about the hateful ranting that we now hear over the airwaves? These confused, deeply dissatisfied people have forgotten somehow that they have that beautiful reservoir of good will. They are drunk on the mantra that says they (and this country) are entitled to get things their way at all costs, and the consequences be damned. It is frightening to watch. But what happens at the breakfast table in their homes across the country when one of their children visibly suffers, when a dog or cat staggers at the end of his life, when a child leaves home … what happens then? Does the loving heart then show its face, offering a gentle touch, a smile, some tears of affection? I would like to believe that deep inside these people suited up in red white and blue and tacky cowboy hats love is still alive, somewhere. And love, which “happens by itself,” has the power to show the way out of ignorance and greed and aversion.
Pie in the sky, you might say. Is it possible that the villains of history, such as Hitler, Richard II, Charles Manson, and the young Charleston assassin, carried elements of good will and affection in their hearts? Yes, I think so, and I know from personal history that unspeakable horrors and suffering can cause us to forget. Forget that love, as the Buddha said, is the only thing that heals hatred. Love, and respect, and affection, good will, generosity, gratitude, acceptance, and more love, respect, and affection, and so on…. As our breath breathes itself, so too does love, fluttering like a frightened child inside our bodies, wanting to break free and fly.