Metta is not primarily concerned with how we feel but with the attitudinal commitment and intention we bring to all moments of experience: to forsake the patterns of abandonment that aversion provokes, to learn we can stand next to all events and people and befriend them. Metta swims against the tide of one of the prevailing ideologies of our time that tells us that how we feel about something is the ultimate authority that guides how we speak, act, and relate. The myth of authenticity asserts that if we feel good about something, like something, or are flattered by someone or something, it is worth pursuing, staying close to, investing in, and befriending. Looking at our lives, and actions are guided by this myth- at times it is referred to as ‘being true to ourselves.’ If we investigate this pattern without judgment, we may instead discover we are ‘being true’ to emotional habits that do not serve us well. Both mindfulness and metta invite us to question this mythology, to begin to understand that, rather than representing authenticity, it may be describing a life in which we agree to being governed by the predominant reaction, emotion, and mental state of the moment. Does this lead to a deeper sense of relatedness or to increasing alienation? Does this lead toward freedom or away from a liberated heart? ~Christina Feldman
where is desperation? where does pain and exclusion reside? how did we arrive here?
inquiry for today~ when you sit with your questions, can you gently notice how you move away from your own truth?
Suchness, in early Buddhist mindfulness practices of bare attention and clear perception of reality, is both the quality of reality and a matter of perceptual experience. In taking up the practice of suchness, we attend to the quality of awareness of itself. The interest and aspiration to realize suchness is itself confirmation of the reality of suchness. Just the concern to live in accord with inner and outer reality, caring about the quality of our awareness, reflects the possibility of being such a person. Ultimately, however, the true transformative function of sustained zazen practice seems to occur beyond any technique, beyond our opinions. It is ‘the vital process on the path of going beyond Buddha,’ Buddha might even be defined as ‘buddha always going beyond buddha.’ The only real buddha is a buddha going beyond, an actual buddha actively responding to the world with the ongoing sustainable, renewable resource of buddha. ~Taigen Dan Leighton