Allowing our heart to attune to the goodness of those who support our cultivation, providing spiritual food and shelter, is a valuable way to gladden and collect our minds.
|Living as an alms mendicant, being completely dependent on others' goodness, brings this into focus. When we step into uncertainty regarding something as basic as food, the power both of relinquishing control and of trusting in a greater human field than ourselves leaves a great space for miracles. The constant miracle of having enough to eat reveals the extent of human kindness and generosity; and the gladness (mudita) that arises when we attune to the goodness of those around us can be more nourishing than the food itself. Connecting to such experiences of benevolence can heal the sense of poverty or lack we may carry, which can so limit the essential experience of well being. It challenges the expectation that there won't be enough - a sense fundamental to competitive materialistic society, that can taint all levels of our experience. |
We, therefore, need to train our minds to attune to what is wholesome and nourishing, to attend to that around us which can steady and brighten. Much of where we are asked to point our attention is at what is not 'right' - in the news, in the discrimination needed to be fixing and improving things. This can become a habit of mind that we then extend to how we perceive and relate to others, making us unable to receive what they are offering. So we need to deliberately notice what is lovely, the skilful qualities the people around us are embodying, how we are supported and looked after, acts of kindness.... When we sense the goodness around us we no longer need to disconnect or disappear - we realise that 'this is a good place to be.' And gratitude arises.
It is also helpful to recollect references that are larger, more fundamental, than those of personality or events (which can be awful), to let our hearts resonate with 'Buddha', 'Teacher' or 'Pilgrim', and let these feed and satisfy the mind. Allowing the heart to attune to the goodness of those who support our cultivation, providing spiritual food and shelter, is a valuable way to gladden and collect our minds, to clear away unwholesome qualities. This may be the Lord Buddha himself, or someone we have been drawn to listen to, have come into relationship with, and feel we have benefited from. Within these communities Luang Por Sumedho has been one such 'good person' to follow after, a field of merit that has provided Dhamma nourishment, either directly or indirectly. Also, after his decades of supporting our communities, we can simply rejoice in the fact that he was able, despite the difficulties, to make the pilgrimage around Mt. Kailash, something he has aspired to for a long time.
What is it like to let our hearts resonate with someone else's goodness and happiness? Can we feel that our 'hearts naturally gravitate towards the light and good' and let that appreciation strengthen us? Then we do have the ability to 'know the world', welcoming whatever arises; we are attuned to a heart quality that establishes a skilful relationship with all of our experience. Awareness is able to let go of the boundaries it would otherwise set up. We can rest in the sphere of the brahmavihara and resonate with the loveliness of awareness itself, freed from lack or defensiveness.