Through The Heart of Compassion

“Real love exists in the heart. The love that exists in the Heart cannot be spoken; it cannot be put in words. The heart is not the place for words. Words are in the intellect. The intellect can speak, but it is nothing more than a tape recorder. It records and spits out words and words and words – words that don’t have any feeling in them. The intellect cannot feel compassion; it cannot feel love or kindness.” Amma

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As most of us are inundated with an increasingly individualistic and materialistic culture, the concept of compassion seems like a catchy theoretical term. However, the actual practice and application of embodying true compassion is a rare phenomena; one that comes as a result of the lessons learned through ones own suffering and of becoming more conscious of ourselves and the world at large. A very famous Zen Buddhist, Thich Nhat Hanh, focuses on love, forgiveness, and embodying true compassion.

“The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other.  We “go inside” their body, feelings, and mental formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering.  Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering.  We must become one with the subject of our observation.  When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means, literally, “to suffer with.”” Thich Nhat Hanh

Through most spiritual traditions, the concept and practice of compassion is highly regarded as one of the most important aspect on the search for Truth. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, has spent his lifetime teaching and practicing this very same spiritual tradition, of embodying compassion. Even though Tibetan Buddhism may look very different from the theoretical and practical applications of other spiritual paths; in essence, compassion is the central theme of all spirituality.

“We can reject everything else: religion, ideology, all received wisdom. But we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion….This, then, is my true religion, my simple faith. In this sense, there is no need for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine or dogma. Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. The doctrine is compassion. Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they are: ultimately these are all we need. So long as we practice these in our daily lives, then no matter if we are learned or unlearned, whether we believe in Buddha or God, or follow some other religion or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be happy.” Dalai Lama X1V

To truly reach out with empathy and unconditional love towards another, is a very rare phenomena, yet even if we can find that place within ourselves momentarily and share this deep sense of selflessness, the world will eventually start to evolve. Even more precious is to have the opportunity to spend time with a true Mahatma or spiritual Master, who embodies the essence of true humility, selflessness, compassion, and infinite grace for everyone who comes for their darshan. My spiritual teacher or Guru is one of these very rare exceptions in this world. Sri MataAmritananda Mayi Devi, known as Amma has been embodying such teachings for over 30 years, through sharing Her emanation with people from all over the world. Through being in her presence I have been able to witness what true compassion really is.

“Sadhana shouldn’t be done for one’s own liberation, but for the sake of becoming loving, compassionate, and understanding enough to remove the suffering of the world. We have to become so large-hearted that we experience the suffering of others as our own, and work to alleviate their suffering.” Amma

Thus, when creator and creation are one and the same, you will find Mahatmas like Amma spending every moment of Her physical presence uplifting the suffering of humanity in some way or another. Her organization, Embracing The World has been recognized by the U.N and WHO, as the biggest humanitarian organization in the world. She was also invited to be a member of South East Asia at the U.N conference in China in the fall of 2012. Hence, Amma is a true humanitarian, offering the pure essence of compassion to everyone, no matter who they may be. Its a deeply profound teaching to assimilate and attempt to practice. Hence, through the teaching of selflessness and attempting to be more kind and compassionate there are moments of embodying this teaching. However, there are far more experiences of being the exact opposite of compassionate; caught in judgement, criticism, and separation.

It shows me the true essence of compassion and how precious and rare the embodiment of this energy really is. It also reveals the delicate balance of allowing the fruits of our spiritual practice or positive actions to flow out of us, as grace to be more compassionate and kind towards all other beings. In such acts, I honestly feel that such true compassion, even if just experienced for a small moment, is the grace of the divine, rather than from our own sense of ego. In essence, all of our acts are mostly steeped in selfishness, due to our association with our egoic mind. However, we can always keep striving to be kinder, more compassionate, and more selfless to others. It has been my experience, that even when we are unkind, fight with others or get drawn into disagreements, and act in selfish ways; we can always learn from such mistakes and redirect our thoughts, words, and actions to show more kindness, forgiveness, and compassion. 

Copyright © All Rights Reserved 2013

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Finding The Sacred Through Tea

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” Thich Nhat Hanh 

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Finding a serene moment to enjoy a delectable cup of tea is the mantra of my life, through mindfully enjoying the experience in all its nuances, delights, and contemplative intrigues; that naturally follow such a ritual of consumption. 

I purchase most of my tea from a local company, O5  Tea that sources all of their product directly from very small organic farmers, mostly in Korea. The owner of the business travels to each farm and has a personal relationship with the farmers, honoring them and the tea that they produce. One of my favourites from O5 Tea is a white tea called, White Moonlight which has a taste experience of, “nose of wild orchid and apricot, notes of berries, honey clover sensation on the palate”. 

The following quote from Thich Nhat Hanh, summarizes my own personal experience of enjoying a cup of tea, through transforming an often unconscious experience into something very sacred that allows one to be in the present moment, even if just for a few minutes.

“You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea.

 Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup.

 Only in the present, can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy.

 If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea.

 You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone.

 Life is like that.

 If you are not fully present, you will look around and it will be gone.

 You will have missed the feel, the aroma, the delicacy and beauty of life.

 It will seem to be speeding past you. The past is finished.

 Learn from it and let it go.

 The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it.

 Worrying is worthless.”

© All Rights Reserved 2013