Tagged heart

Bonfire, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A Formal Feeling Comes

“After great pain, a formal feeling comes,” writes Emily Dickinson.  “The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs.” After a great shock or loss or change, a stillness comes. We sit still and receive life without leaning forward to grasp at it or commenting on it—think of the way a king or queen receives visitors. We have…

The Sunlight of Awareness

“The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty, “ taught Mother Teresa.  “Loneliness is the most terrible poverty.” Every year in Japan, the ancestors are remembered and hungry ghosts are fed in a ritual called Oban.  I once experienced a Western Soto Zen version of this practice, including among the hungry ghosts all those beings that society rejects and those parts of ourselves that we forget or abandon or try to hide. But how are we to feed the hungry ghosts? Early Buddhist tradition describes the use of spells and also service to the living. …

Refiner’s Fire

Hearts can change.  Given enough time and the right conditions, even the most battle-hardened heart can learn to take off the armor, stop contracting into a fist, dare to be soft and exposed.  This process of opening can take a long, long time–a big piece of lifetime or even many lifetimes according to the Buddhists.   Knowing this can bring an easing in itself, a sense that it is alright to take time, to take off the armor and let the wounds heal. But it’s important not to stop in our healing, to realize the human heart comes to us…