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Buddhadharma : Spring 2017
82 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly spring 2 0 1 7 we do not always have to feel compas- sionate in order to respond with com- passion. Liking or loving something is not a prerequisite to befriending all things and to having kindness be the abiding place we commit to. Just as our minds have an impact uponour actions, so too do our actions have an impact on the shape of our mind and heart. A student recounted how she commit- ted herself for a year to have her speech rooted in metta, to use words of kind- ness and gentleness rooted in empathy and respect. She said there were many moments she was tempted to fall into harsh speech, condemning or judging or just engaging in social gossip. She said each morning she renewed the commit- ment. It did not mean that the aversive, harsh thoughts didn’t arise, but in their arising they were met with mindfulness and kindness and rarely made their way ➤ The Heart of This Moment continued from page 40 into her speech. She said it was a prac- tice that changed her life. She found that people trusted her, turned to her in their most difficult moments without the fear of being judged, that her friendships deepened and her difficult relationships began to ease. We set our feet and our lives upon a path that draws on the enduring and transforming aspirations and intentions that have the power to heal and liber- ate our hearts and our world. In every moment of our lives, whether silent or speaking, still or moving, we are always practicing and enacting something. It may be habitual and unconscious; it may be responsive and intentional. This path of awakening invites us to know this, and awareness teaches us that in every moment there is a choice about where we make our home. Where we make our home—whether in the world of fear and aversion or the home of kindness, mind- fulness, and befriending—will inevitably shape our thoughts, words, and acts, and how we perceive the world. In her poem “Kindness,” Naomi Shi- hab Nye writes that it is only in seeing the size of the cloth of sorrow that we come to understand that it is only kind- ness that makes sense anymore. Hand in hand, mindfulness and metta ask us to open our eyes and hearts to the sorrow of our world, to be touched by the strug- gle, fear, and violence that damage and scar the lives of so many. We are asked to truly sense the helplessness of those trapped in poverty, neglect, and depriva- tion, to open our eyes and hearts to the threads of despair, loneliness, and pain that leave too many people in our world forgotten and invisible. Then it is true that only kindness—to commit ourselves to kindness in our thoughts, words, and acts and to be a conscious participant in healing the world we are part of—makes sense anymore. Metta brings us out of the shell of self-absorption, allowing us to be touched by the world and to touch the world with kindness. With friendli- ness and kindness, we take our place in the family of all beings. INSIGHT MEDITATION SOCIETY IMS’s Forest Refuge program is for experienced meditators only. For more information, visit www.dharma.org or call 978-355-2063 Deepen your practice Experience a personal retreat at IMS’s Forest Refuge • Choose the length of your stay – retreat periods range from seven nights to a year or more • Develop an individual program of silent practice – supported by teacher talks and interviews • Balance solititude with community – meditate with others or in your private room • Strengthen practice faith, confidence and self-reliance SUBSCRIBER SERVICES Subscribe • Renew Pay an invoice • Give a Gift Purchase back issues Change your address Inquire about a subscription Replace a missing issue ONLINE easy, quick, and secure Visit Subscriber Services at www.lionsroar.com CALL TOLL-FREE 11:30 am – 8 pm ET weekdays 1-877-786-1950 Overseas: 01-760-317-2362 Email: thebuddhadharma.com Mail: PO Box 469095, Escondido, CA 92046–9095 Privacy notice: SubScriberS may receive offerS from organizationS we believe may be of intereSt to our readerS. contact uS if you wiSh to be excluded from Such mailingS.