The Hearts Intention
“Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.”
You and I are designed for relationship, we are born to be “in relationship” with everyone and everything else. The purpose of life, and if we are ever going to find any meaning, is found in relationship, living my life as a benefit for others. “Community is the Spirit, the Guiding Light…” which when lived functions as a compass, a means of navigating through a reality marked by impermanence and uncertainty. Thomas Merton wrote, “It is therefore of supreme importance that we consent to live not for ourselves but for others. When we do this we will be able first of all to face and accept our own limitations. As long as we secretly adore ourselves, our own deficiencies will remain to torture us with an apparent defilement. But if we live for others, we will gradually discover that no one expects us to be ‘as gods’. We will see that we are human, like everyone else, that we all have weaknesses and deficiencies, and that these limitations of ours play a most important part in all our lives. It is because of them that we need others and others need us. We are not all weak in the same spots, and so we supplement and complete one another, each one making up in himself for the lack in another.”
Community is not just some nice sentimental idea or romantic notion but a force for fulfillment and sustainability. It is a context which naturally creates confidence, courage, true self-esteem, contentment, and love as the content of our lives. Community is the only conducive environment for personal and global fulfillment and spiritual practice.
The Heart’s Intention is fulfillment, to live a lifetime at the level of full self-expression. “Quintessential to a man or woman’s full potential is clearly communion with others. Man cannot claim maturity unless he or she learn the lessons of sharing their life with others.” The fruit of any Authentic Spirituality is Community, being Community for others, practicing and sometimes living in-community with others is the natural expression of the truly spiritual person.
The Heart’s Intention is connection. It’s true-nature is relationship. Therefore it follows that the Heart finds its fulfillment through authentic spiritual practice which involves relationship in a spiritual community with others “supplementing and completing one another” by sharing their brokenness, “weaknesses and deficiencies,” their strengths, gifts, and talents with each other as a “benefit for each other”. In the end what truly unites us is not our religious or political beliefs, opinions or affiliations, but our “suffering,” our brokenness, our humanity.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin explained, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Too often what is identified as being spiritual are human-beings trying to have a “spiritual experience”. This is like someone with amnesia trying to find themselves believing they will meet someday sometime in the future when the right circumstances arrive, or like the ancient Sufi story about a man who losses his keys inside his home and goes outside to look for them under a street light. The happiness we so desire is only found in being truly who and what we are, and bringing the authenticity to every moment of our life and to our practice. What we truly are, are spiritual beings and who we are is Buddha, Christ, Atman, Qalb, Love.
Community makes us real and allows us to be part of the real world, it is the only conducive environment for authenticity. Einstein wrote, “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
The Heart’s desire is freedom. It must by nature express itself authentically and freely. When the heart is limited or feels constrained by fear it is not free to express itself and begins to close inward on itself and contain itself. Years and years of this delusional impulse to close inward causes suffering on both mind and body, creates stress and anxiety, and shortens the life of the body. “This delusion [impulse] is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Spirituality is the work of “freeing ourselves from this prison,” and can only be achieved by “widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature.”
“Community is the Spirit, the Guiding Light, whereby people come together to fulfill a purpose,
To help others fulfill their purpose, and to take care of one another.” If we never become community for others our spiritual practice remains egocentric and selfish, or as Chogyam Trungpa called it, “Spiritual Materialism”. Suffering will continue to compound in our lives and join the world, we will not grow or evolve, we cannot achieve our fullest potential which any kind of real and sustainable happiness requires.
Life is always urgent, Love is always demanding, Relationship requires sacrifice, and you and I together are capable to meet each and every challenge life may bring. Apart from each other life is nothing more than crapshoot. We’ve gambled so much and have accepted too many losses, its time to win. If not now when? Hasn’t it been cold enough for you? Outside and In?
I Love you,