Love Well, Live Fully, Learn to Let Go

Each time we take our seat in meditation, we pass through the gates of fear and desire to enter the monastery of the interior. Serenely we follow the corridors of the breath, penetrating the inherent sanctuary of compassion, and we enter the temple of the most holy. It is in this space that we experience the arising of all things. It is in this space that we realize the ascendancy of the spirit. It is in this space that we discover our ability to love well, to live fully and to let go of all that is not beneficial.

Love Well

To love well is to love fully and without restraint, without prejudice or attachment and most importantly without fear. To love so completely and fully may seem beyond our imperfect human abilities. In reality, the manifestation of a holistic quality of love in our life is what makes us human and that is why love is the centre piece of our spiritual experience.

“Spiritual practice is the contemplation of the experience of being human. It is the study of our own sense of truth and the realization that love is at the centre of it all.”

Even our most important spiritual accomplishments become meaningless without a heartfelt intention. Love is at the source of real happiness. It gives meaning and validity to every relationship we engage in. Even our relationship with ourselves.

The Greek scriptures in the Bible define the qualities love in this way:

“Love is long suffering and kind. Love is not jealous, love is not egotistical. Love does not behave indecently toward others. Love does not look out for it’s own interests. Love does not become provoked and love does not keep account of the injuries. Love bears all things, Love believes and hopes all things” (I Corinthians 13: 4, 5)

The real measure of our Dharma – our spiritual path – is whether or not it cultivates our hearts to love. Love is not the goal of spiritual life. It is spiritual life; it is how we live fully.

Live Fully

In the words of Joseph Campbell, “People say that what we are seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we are really seeking. I think what we are seeking is the experience of being truly alive!”

The Buddhist tradition teaches us to regard all life as precious. This is the notion that the Buddha called “inter being”. To live fully is to recognize and embrace our interconnectedness with all life, and to always be mindful of that fact.

To live fully is to appreciate the preciousness of all things. To wake up each day with the appreciative joy in knowing that you are alive and conscious of being alive and that everyday and at every moment you are a part of this vast and beautiful cosmic experience.

When we consider loving and living fully, we can recognize more clearly how our attachments and fears have limited our lives up to now. This realization can lead us to know how we must let go and open up to all of life’s possibilities now and in the future.

When we embrace all aspects of our life with open heart and mind, we see clearly that we are nothing and that we are everything. We are empty of an egotistical sense of self and we are everything by our natural intrinsic connection to all life. This knowledge allows us to live fully.

To live fully is to realize a state of being that is both emptiness and fullness, described by Buddhists as the middle way or high equanimity.

This is the realization of the Tao, the realization that there is a non-duel nature, a flow and rhythm to our world. As though all of life is singing the same cosmic song, this is the place of ultimate balance. To be in the world but totally be in a state of non-grasping of it.

“We are simply space, and our whole identity opens to reveal the true nature of consciousness before we become identified with body and mind. This consciousness has been described as the eye of God. In Hinduism, it is the mythic image of lord Shiva atop Mount Kailas dancing the dance of birth and death, that sees the creation and destruction of the world, the light and dark, with a heart that embraces it all."

Learn To Let Go

True liberation comes directly from our ability to let go. Letting go is essential to emotional and spiritual good health. It is key to our experience of true happiness.

The story of the wise old rabbi: “We are all just travelling through. When any experience of body, mind, or heart keeps repeating in consciousness, it is a signal that this visitor is asking for a deeper and fuller realization, that our ability to let go requires a fuller attention.”

Teacher Jack Kornfield tells us in this regard: Letting go is the central theme in spiritual practice. When letting go is called for, if we haven’t learned to do so, we suffer greatly. Especially at the end of our lives, if we haven’t already acquired the ability, we then will have to experience a “crash course” in letting go.

Sooner or later we have to learn to let go and allow the ever changing mystery of life to move through us without being afraid or holding on or grasping.

Mistier Elkhart once said that when one is facing death and is refusing to let go, clinging to life at all costs may seem to us like the world has grown dark and that we are being tormented by demons. When we are willing to let go and embrace the beauty of the mystery, the demons turn into angels of light, that take us by the hand and guide us toward our enlightenment.

Love well, live fully and learn to let go. This is the wisdom of the heart.

About the author: Donald Francis is a meditation teacher and freelance writer. Incorporates art, music, poetry and literature into his teaching and makes meditation interesting and relevant to everyone. He lives in London, England.

Photo Credit: Jack Kornfield "In the end, just three things matter, how well we have lived, how well we have loved, how well we have learned to let go" by BK is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Resized from original.

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Sangha Without Borders is currently physically located in London, UK