Light upon the path... to where? Where are these Mindfulness Trainings, where are these reflections, leading? Our answer is simple: they are all leading into, deeper and deeper, into the human heart... We have learned from our own brokenness, as from our passions and joys, it is only in our hearts that we will find the possibility of well-being and happiness that we hunger for. These Mindfulness Trainings and reflections are a call to come together in the only "place" that offers the hope of Planetary transformation...
So, this particular reflection is primarily going to focus on the spiritual / political necessity of "embracing our heart / embracing every heart"... herein lies the Path into the future and the transformation we dream...
Enter the Heart
The "awareness" and "awakening" implied -- or promised by the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings is a "quantum shift in consciousness". Nothing less is going to get us moving! The Mindfulness Trainings assume the practitioner has no desire to be spun into oblivion -- but desires, instead, liberation for everyone and all life on this Planet. This is a tall order indeed, but the only one worthy of our humanity and personhood.
The Mindfulness Trainings assume we are making some effort to live with integrity. That is good! Let's dig a little deeper and find the door that opens onto the paradise Dostoevsky wrote of... what does the paradise of your imagination look like? For us, the first thing that comes to mind is harmlessness: a home and garden where safety, respect, kindness, mercy, and compassion are the practice... no fear and never a reason to fear... Next, truthfulness: integrity and honesty... Then, non-possessiveness: realizing that everything is a gift which we cannot steal, manipulate, control, dominate, or even own, we can finally practice our freedom -- and allow others the very same freedom... every need is met in the satisfaction of sufficiency... The well-being of "paradise sufficiency" will come to pervade the entirety of one's consciousness: non-attachment liberates one into the simplicity of a radiant delight: desire and pleasure are no longer ends in themselves (no longer in the service of ego), and so may now take their rightful place in the sacred circle of well-being: in every way, we have been created by Love, for Love, to become Love: the loving gift of delight is core to the fullness of life... Paradise is our awakening into the realization that we have always been, are now, and always will be "individualized units of the One Love Consciousness"...
Mindful yoga, breathing, walking, service, meditation, contemplation, ecstasy, intention, organizing for justice, peace, equality, and environmental reverence and stewardship are each and all ways of making love within the days of your life: by making love we steadily become love, by becoming love we awaken to the fullness of our deepest and truest identity... Each of these attitudes and practices serve as "keys" to unlock and enter the vast realm of our hearts... Of course, every step forward comes with the risk of momentary failure! But contrary to the perspective of fundamentalists, none of this nor life itself, is a "pass or fail" test: it's more like a slow unveiling: under all the "cloth" of our illusions and delusions, there is only the perfect beauty of One Love...
There are three overarching "actions" required for entry into, and then a radical life, in the heart: 1) We need to manifest by thought-word-action the real Reality of Only One, One Love, in our everyday lives. These manifestations will happen (or not) in our homes, our relationships, at work, in recreation, in our diets, in our politics -- in every aspect / part of our lives. Peace, justice, compassion, mercy, equality, gentleness, passion, harmlessness, beauty, service, empathy (you get the drift) are the means for manifesting our love / One Love. We are meant to become the channels and agents of One Love upon this precious blue Planet! 2) We need to clearly, demonstrably, intend towards greatness. Hafiz wrote, at the conclusion of a poem, "Act great"! In other words, we need to fill our minds with the words and images of people like Yeshua the Poet, Rumi, Francis, Gandhi, Hildegard, Mirabai, Aung San Suu Kyi, Dorothy Day, Wangari Maathai, Mandela, Dolores Huerta, Evo Morales, the Berrigans, Julia Butterfly Hill, and such a long list of others: join your name and daily life to this list! Don't settle for what you (or someone else) might think possible -- Act Great! -- and greatness and transformation will follow! 3) Steps one and two will be sustainable only -- or exactly -- to the degree that we practice number three: affirm the truth, beginning with yourself and then flowing out about you and on into the Universe. Our minds are crammed full of crap -- so start with the words of the Shulammite in the Song of Songs: "I am beautiful!" The "average" person has around 65,000 thoughts a day -- we are not going to change the world until we change our minds! It is as simple and clear as that. To clear your head, turn off every advertiser, turn off every divisive political pundit or religious preacher: stop buying all the crap they want you to sell your soul for! You've got to ask the question, "What am I worth?" And then you've got to answer with no ambiguity whatsoever, "I am worth the very best! I am worth Love!" And then the door into your heart will swing open: because you believe that you are worth the very best, that you are worth Love, you are no longer afraid, and you can stand aside and let everyone else enter the Garden of Paradise before you! That's the Key to Transformation: none of this is about you: it is all about the Other: every Other! It is about Every Other receiving a "Welcome Home!" No exceptions, and no one left out. When you have gotten out of the way, the Holy One has room to maneuver! When She starts moving all the furniture in your mind aside, you know She's gonna let loose with One-heck-of-a-free-for-all-passion-dance through all the cells of your mind, ripping and shredding all the way down into only the possibility of "you"... but then "you've" circled back Home to Only One, One Love...
The Thirteenth Mindfulness Training
Aware of the One Love alive in my heart, I commit my life to Beauty and Kindness and to the manifestation of Only One in how I think, speak, and act. I will act great and become an instrument of transformation for everyone and for this incredibly precious blue Planet! This is my joy!
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.