Because we misunderstand the open-dimensional nature of contingent relationships, we at times try to fix the world. You might sweep into a situation in order to put things in order with strong conviction that you know what’s going on and how you will change it. Perhaps you think you’ve got all the players pegged and already know what motivates them. But when all of your ideas congregate around the truth of your own hypothesis it won’t even occur to you that someone may have something else to offer or that there is something you yourself can learn.
The flip side of thinking you can fix things reveals something altogether different. In your failed attempt to change a situation, you might fall into despair. Suddenly, the world and all its problems overwhelm you. You only see things in a singular way and feel doomed. In forgetting that life is far from singular, you will miss the beauty of an autumn leaf falling from a tree, or fail to notice someone courageously risking her life to help another. you will forget about the laughter that comes from seeing the irony of things and of the resilience of others despite their challenges of being alive. We are reminded that the world is many things- as many things as you can possibly imagine it to be.
The practice of absolute bodhicitta is to bear witness to this infinite complexity, and to allow the beauty, poignancy, and pain of it all to touch you.
The practical nature of awe allows the mind to bear witness to the fathomless nature of contingency without shutting down around definitive conclusions. Such a mind is humble and curious, poised to recognize the nature of reality and protected from fundamentalism and doubt. You will recognize the practical nature of awe when despair becomes compassion; righteous indignation transforms into openness and humility; and the tendency to want to fix things turns into a natural, unhindered longing to respond.
Bodhicitta is the path of understanding who you are in the fathomless nature of infinite contingency, and then developing the skills to navigate this reality- your life- in a way that is awakening for both yourself and for others. If you understand that everything leans, you will also understand that everything you do matters.
How will you burn with love in this unfixable world?
~Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel
nothing. here. and. love.
inquiry for today~ notice that feeling of missing a dear one and then practice letting go while deepening your love……
Through a deepening recognition of selflessness, there is a surprising and growing sense of connection and intimacy. On the deepest level, we realize there is no one there to be separate, and the natural outgrowth of this realization is compassion. As Dilgo Khyentse expressed it, “When you realize the empty nature of phenomena, the energy to bring about the good of others dawns uncontrived and effortless.” Selflessness, then, is none other than live, not in the sense of a particular feeling, but as an activity, an awake, compassionate responsiveness to ourselves and the world we live in.