I have not yet made any resolutions, nor have I set any intentions for 2013. What am I waiting for? As I write this, 2013 is looming….. 6 hours and 54 minutes away to be precise. Sheesh, I need to get this party started.
Or not. The last stretch of 2012 held much heartbreak. You would think that after almost half a century there would be no new terrain in my heart. Yet I find that is not true. I continue to find my heart anew each day and still there are highs and lows that I had not previously dreamed.
The Buddhist tradition talks about our wounded, softened heart. Our bodhichitta. We guard this soft and tender heart so very ferociously. You would think that we were hard-wired to do this. But I think this fear and mistrust is a learned behavior. I think that our original nature is to love and love and love. No matter what. But somewhere along the line we learn to fear and shut down. Ego, yes? Pride, maybe? All sorts of things shut us down and keep this jewel, this compassionate, softened, loving heart hidden. So- it comes down to this, we can allow our experiences to harden us, to make us fearful and resentful or we can allow our experiences to lead us to ever softening, to loving beyond the ache.
Truly, it is our own choice. Most of us are living lives where we are doing both. Sometimes living in fear, sometimes living in love. And yes, certainly, that is better than always living in fear.
The Buddha might say “that it is only bodhichitta that heals, that bodhichitta is capable of transforming the hardest of hearts and the most prejudiced and fearful minds.” Pema Chodron says that “Bodhichitta is also equated, in part, with compassion—our ability to feel the pain that we share with others. Without realizing it we continually shield ourselves from this pain because it scares us. We put up protective walls made of opinions, prejudices and strategies, barriers that are built on a deep fear of being hurt. These walls are further fortified by emotions of all kinds: anger, craving, indifference, jealousy and envy, arrogance and pride. But fortunately for us, the soft spot—our innate ability to love and to care about things—is like a crack in these walls we erect. It's a natural opening in the barriers we create when we're afraid. With practice we can learn to find this opening. We can learn to seize that vulnerable moment—love, gratitude, loneliness, embarrassment, inadequacy—to awaken bodhichitta.”
I believe that I have found my intention for 2013. I want to stay awake in compassion and love. I want to be brave enough to be vulnerable. When someone or something hurts me, I want to be in bodhichitta, I want to understand in compassion and love them from the broken place that we all share. Because, we are all broken and there, but for the grace of God, go I.
In addition to staying awake in bodhichitta, I live in the gratitude that I have been blessed to have the tools, support and path that encourages me to love from my wounded, softened heart. Happy New Year.