Taking the one seat describes two related aspects of spiritual work. Outwardly, it means selecting one practice and teacher among all the possibilities, and inwardly, it means having the determination to stick with that practice through whatever difficulties and doubts arise until you have come to true clarity and understanding.
When we let ourselves feel the fear, the discontent, the difficulties we have always avoided, our heart softens. Just as it is a courageous act to face all the difficulties from which we have always run, it is also an act of compassion.
Nirvana manifests as ease, as love, as connectedness, as generosity, as clarity, as unshakable freedom. This isn't watering down nirvana. This is the reality of liberation that we can experience, sometimes in a moment and sometimes in transformative ways that change our entire life.
The four radiant abodes are loving-kindness, compassion, joy and peace.These abodes are treasured because they are exquisitely simple, the universal expression of an open heart. When our peaceful heart meets other beings it fills with love. When love meets happiness, it becomes joy.
May I be a guard for those who need protection; a guide for those on the path; a boat, a raft, a bridge for those to cross the flood; may I be a lamp in the darkness; a resting place for the weary, and a healing medicine for all who are sick. For as long as Earth and sky endure, may I assist until all living beings are awakened.
If you hold on to any expectation, you miss the wisdom. It is impermanent. Be the One Who Knows, the witness to it all. This is how trust grows. And it is how love grows as well. Trust and love are the keys.
There are several different kinds of painful feelings that we might experience, and learning to distinguish and relate to these feelings of discomfort or pain is an important part of meditation practice, because it is one of the very first things that we open to as our practice develops.
To start, meditation is very much like training a puppy. You put the puppy down and say, Stay. Does the puppy listen? It gets up and runs away. You sit the puppy back down again. Stay. And the puppy runs away over and over again. Sometimes the puppy jumps up, runs over, and pees in the corner or makes some other mess.
To bow to the fact of our life's sorrows and betrayals is to accept them; and from this deep gesture we discover that all life is workable. As we learn to bow, we discover that the heart holds more freedom and compassion than we could imagine.
Attachment is conditional, offers love only to certain people in certain ways; it is exclusive. Love, in the sense of metta, used by Buddha, is a universal, nondiscriminating feeling of caring and connectedness.
Then one day you will be sitting and fear will arise, and you will feel it and recognize it and think, Oh, this is fear, I recognize you. Welcome back. Then it is as if the fear becomes one of your friends.