Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Heaven Among Us

 
 

Many Songs & One Music

Seeing to create heaven among us

Aug 30, 2021

Saying For Today: If we honor only the songs, we get caught in diversity. If we honor only the music, we get caught in oneness. The Middle Way entails holding in balance diversity and oneness, for each is in the other.


The Vision of Pure

A Vision of Pure

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Opening Thought: As long as two sides demand the other side agree, there is no peace. We must drop below where we agree or disagree - the mind -; otherwise, we are playing the same loveless game.

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NOTE: Yesterday, I spoke of how wrong view led me not to see and, so, mistreat a gay man. I was a young pastor in my mid-20s and of a conservative evangelical sect and church. I said I would share a later, similar encounter when I saw and acted differently. That experience I include below after some opening comments.

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When we change, we see differently; when we see differently, we change - this is one. We do not jump out of our prejudices; we grow out of them. This transformation may require courage. Courage means first, "I have mis-seen others. I have mistreated them from ignorance." Second, courage implies a willingness to allow our thoughts to be transformed from harmful to helpful.

Harmful and helpful are relative opposites. They are heaven or hell among us. As Seon Master Daehaeng writes, in My Heart is a Golden Buddha, "Truly, a single thought can create heaven, and a single thought can create hell." Hell and heaven are in the mind. When projected outward, we create one or the other in our social environment. So, not correctly viewing another can lead to her suffering, and the opposite is true. When I see another with a right view, unclouded by presumptions, I can truly love her. This seeing is action, is love.

If heaven is in my mind, I will create heaven. If hell is in my mind, I will create hell. Heaven is blessing. Hell is cursing. So, we cannot bypass the mind; it is a gate from the heart to our actions. Right action flows from right view. With so much hell among us, we need more and more persons spreading heaven.

As in my case, the transformation from wrong view to right view may mean going in the opposite direction of what had been our way of life. We may get little support. We may be seen as unfaithful. We may be ostracized. We may feel loneliness. We may lose a job, career, or significant relationship. We may have to choose a different place to live or other places to frequent, more aligned with justice, love, and compassion. If we are inclusive, we need environments that support that; we need to avoid associating too closely with groups that do not support equality.

Accordingly, as I noted of sharing another episode some 30 years after the one given here yesterday, I do below. To see the contrast and highlight the lesson conveyed, I recommend you read "Deep Looking," the posting yesterday.

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I walked out that sunny Sunday morning onto the church grounds after meeting parishioners on their way out of the sanctuary. A church member met me. She spoke of a dear gay friend; she spoke highly of him. She asked about how I felt about him coming to worship at the church. I heartily said "Yes," that I would be glad for him to come worship with us.

He came, and before the worship meeting, we met outside. I welcomed him, and we talked. After the worship and almost all others had left, we met and conversed in the center aisle of the sanctuary. Saying our goodbyes, I hugged him, and he hugged me.

In that hug, I wanted him to know and feel he was welcome, as welcome as anyone. Including him in my arms, and him doing the same, was a powerful sign of inclusivity. In my including him, I included myself. When he embraced me, he embraced himself.

Being gay was this young man's song, not mine. Yet, while our songs are different, the music is the same. The song is in the music, the music in the song. Our unity together means honoring the different songs and the one music. If we honor only the songs, we get caught in diversity. If we honor only the music, we get caught in oneness. The Middle Way entails holding in balance diversity and oneness, for each is in the other.

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In the mind, we become divided; in the heart, we are reunited. So, to return to God, to reunite with Love, we let the mind descend into the heart. The heart is the passageway to Spirit. Then, we see with the heart. The heart sees oneness, for there is only one heart. All else is window dressing.

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Times of daily meditation invite us to drop the mind into the heart or bring the heart up into the mind. Some meditation modes help us relax into the heart, while others help to bring the qualities of the heart into the mind. Either way, meditation is training in right view and right action.

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Now, does this mean one must agree with another person's lifestyle to love her as one with herself? No. The hug of oneness is not about agreeing in thought. We may agree or not - oneness is prior, the ground of love. I agreed with the young man being gay; yet, when hugging him, the thought of his being right or wrong was not present - love was all that was present.

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One of the Four Immeasurables in Buddhist teaching is equanimity. These teachings are, says Thich Nhat Hanh, in The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, "the abodes of true love." He observes equanimity (Sanskrit, upeksha) is from upa, "over," and iksh, "to look." This insight, he says, is like climbing a mountain and looking in all directions. For example, one looks and sees through the labels bisexual, transexual, heterosexual, .... These are manifestations of an underlying unity, a likeness of nature. Hindus say all manifestations are lila, the Dance of God. The one looking from the mountain may agree or disagree with one of these ways - manifestations of the life dance-; yet, the heart does not close her from seeing the underlying oneness - the innocence the other is, the same innocence she is. Consequently, to dwell in love, she does not dwell in the mind but the heart. Living in the heart, she sees with the heart. In theistic terms, she sees as God sees, or with God's eyes.

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Likely, we each have spread a lot of hell. We have mis-seen and, thereby, mis-treated others by wrong action - by action or non-action. This false view and false action can inspire us to see and act otherwise. We need not grovel in guilt. We see right view, for we have seen wrong view. If we had not seen wrongly, how would we know right view? So, ignorance is a ground for wisdom to arise. Therefore, we need to be willing to admit how we have hurt others and ourselves through lack of insight. Our past ignorance is transformed into understanding. The mind, in this, does not transform itself; the heart transforms the mind.

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* Brian K. Wilcox, 2021

*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse. The book consists of poems based on wisdom traditions, predominantly Christian, Buddhist, and Sufi, with extensive notes on the poetry's teachings and imagery.

 

Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Heaven Among Us

©Brian Wilcox 2021