In meditation, we often speak about ‘being with’ emotions in the same way as we might with any mind object (thought, sensation, emotion, mood) or happening that arises. It arises, we do not supress or avoid, however, in the same breath, we do not cling on to either. Then, it simply passes as all things do. This seems to be rational to me for the most part. Joy, excitement, anger, jealousy are all emotions that I have experienced this with. They all eventually move on if I do not cling to them.
However, what about love?
I seem to get stuck at this point. In fact, I was feeling such resistance to the notion that love is simply a mind object that I devoted a whole semester to researching that very question:
What about love?
Now, I don’t really want to spend this whole post reiterating my paper on love and meditation; however, I will say that through my research I stumbled upon a book called “Open Heart, Open Mind: A Guide to Inner Transformation” written by Tsoknyi Rinpoche (a renowned contemporary meditation master). In this book, Tsoknyi Rinpoche speaks about two types of love: Essence Love and Boundless Love. Moreover, he speaks of love as something that exists within us- certainly not something that arises and moves on.
Instead, he explains that ‘we all long for that unconditional well of love. And in that longing, the voice of essence love whispers that it is possible to discover it’ (p.63).
So what is Essence Love? Well, he explains it as ‘a sense of some small spark of well-being, or what might be called ‘okayness’’(Ibid). He also states that once we come into contact with this small park, usually in a state of relaxation, we don’t need to cling to it. Instead, if we approach Essence Love in a non- clinging way, it will become ‘a little stronger, a little brighter, a little more a part of our everyday experience’ (p.64). This then ultimately leads to Boundless Love.
Quite simply, Essence Love is about connecting in with the deep spring of well-being and possibility that lies within each of us. It never passes or goes away. Instead, it lies patiently waiting to be remembered.
I brushed up against Essence Love this weekend. I was teaching on the first weekend of our Level 1: Being Mindfulness course in a place called Jampa Ling, in Ireland where I live. It was the first time I had actually taught for the MA in Ireland as I am usually travelling to different countries to teach their programme, so there was this lovely sense of coming home.
The day had gone brilliantly with a group of people all coming together with an open mind and similar aims, including the aim to reconnect with that sense of well-being and okayness; my teaching partner Kati was bubbly and vivacious and her commitment to the group and the centre where we were teaching was inspiring; the land on which we were teaching was sparkling and bursting with life in only the way that Ireland can do. I felt relaxed and at ease and definitely OK.
That evening, after our meal of soup and a walk through the Jampa Ling forest, I found myself in my room with the sun setting through my window, a juicy novel that had me captivated was lying on my bed and the knowledge that all of those who I love were generally safe and settled. A deep sense of warmth and contentment spread through my whole body and everything felt clear. I am OK. In fact, I am more than OK, I am blessed. The spark of Essence Love was shining ‘a little stronger, a little brighter’.
It then became clear to me that we are all hungry for Essence Love and for well-being. This is why we learn and study mindfulness, this is why we teach mindfulness, this is why we practice mindfulness. And this is OK. This is what it means to be human. So, when we do touch in with this love or brush up against it and feel the warmth, we can smile at it. We might even nod at it with a gentle respect and thanksgiving that it has shone itself to us.
The best part? We don’t need to cling to it because it is not going anywhere, it always lies within. It is always with us, we just need to remember.
So, I thought it might be worth it for the weekly challenge to focus on noticing when we do brush up against this Essence Love or sense of well-being. It might be small and maybe a little dim, but can we get a sense of the spark that lies within us all? Can we remember? Can we reconnect?
If you have completed the 8 week MBLC and or Weekend 1 of our Level 1: Being Present course elsewhere and would like to join us in Jampa Ling for the remaining 3 weekends, please contact info@ mindfulnessassociation.net.
Also, calling out to members- make sure to log on to the weekly sit on Thursday to practice and share in community. Jane will be guiding a SGRS practice with a small Loving Kindness practice.
Not a member? Not a problem: sign up here.