Nothing can be loved at speed, and I think we might be looking at the loss of love in the world due to the increased velocity of ordinary life; the loss of care, skill and attention enough to ensure the health and happiness of each other and the planet earth. It is a baffling problem and governments seem unable to recognize it, or do much about it at present. To put it as a bleak modern metaphor, there may be moments when we feel we are all aboard an airliner being flown into a mountainside by the unstoppable forces of an incomprehensible madness. Now seems like a good time to talk about spirituality, art and innocence.
~ Michael Leunig, When I Talk to You
Starting my posts with quotes is a kind of hopefulness on my part that it will lead somewhere. A theme, an idea, something to write about. The quote I began with today spoke to me in a number of different ways and maybe I’ll get to all of them or only some of them, but it was the beginning that grabbed me. “Nothing can be loved at speed…”
Love has been my word for this year and I often wonder if I accidentally hit upon my theme/word for life. I have a private blog where I write nearly every day and the category I have used for every post this year has been “The Wisdom of Love.” It’s where I am finding that wisdom lies. In love.
We have been discussing the Brahmaviharas (the Four Immeasurables) in yoga class. The Brahmaviharas are a Buddhist concept, but you will also find them in the Yoga Sutras (Sutra 1.33). Friendliness (lovingkindness), compassion, appreciative/empathetic joy, and equanimity. I’ve seen them referred to as “the four heart qualities.” These qualities and practices are not just about sitting in meditation and wishing all beings well (although that can open the doorway/heart). We practice these things in our relationships with others (and with ourselves!).
Equanimity (upeksha) is the most challenging for me. Maybe for everyone. For instance, it’s so difficult to look at the news cycle and not react to something (politics, social justice, bigotry, climate change, public health or lack thereof). It is also difficult not to see the upcoming election as some kind of tipping point. How do you go out and vote and then let it go? The outcome is not something I can control, as much as I might want to.
(Note: Yes, I did vote, no matter the outcome. We have early voting here in Maryland and I was surprised by how few people were there. Even the poll workers were commenting on it. I suspect they will be quite busy on Election Day itself. I have a theory about that, one that has been in the news so there is probably no need to say more on the subject.)
I’ve been asking myself how I can move from fear to love, from worry to equanimity. I think — and I could be wrong — that part of the answer lies in the first three things. Or maybe it’s a simultaneous occurrence. When I can look at what is happening (in the world or better yet, in my mind) with compassion, with lovingkindness, and with empathetic joy, equanimity or evenness of heart-mind happens. When I can look at things clearly, without the stories and emotions whirling around, it is easier for me to practice friendliness, compassion, and appreciative joy. It’s a Catch-22 (and life is certainly full of such paradoxes).
It is also interesting to note that when I am acting from a place of love — making the “right” choice or doing the next right thing — equanimity becomes a part of that act or choice.
As usual, I have no answers. Just plenty of ponderings and questionings. The word Love has been good to me, softening me in many ways. Toughening me up, too, with boundaries and a touch of equanimity from time to time.
Thank you for stopping by and pondering with me today. Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset this evening. It’s scheduled for 6:00 PM. The day has been warm and still. You will need to prepare for mosquitoes and chiggers. Incense, insect repellent, long sleeves all help. It might even be warm enough for a wade in the water if you’re so inclined.
Please be safe, be well, and take some time to just Be.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 3,026) Reflections on the water at sunset. 3,027) Bagels and cream cheese. It’s not something I eat often so it’s really yummy when I do. 3,028) Love, in all its forms. 3,029) M, always and forever. 3,030) Watching the squirrels this morning as they chased each other around the trees.