Friday, April 20, 2007


This morning I tried out one of the ideas I picked up from reading that Sharon Salzberg text on metta that I referred to yesterday. She mentioned having spent an entire week in meditation on the first step of metta--sending goodwill to herself: May I be happy. My I find true happiness in my my life. May I be free from stress and pain. May I be free from trouble. May I be free from animosity. My I be free from oppression. May I look after myself with ease…

I found it to be a wonderfully satisfying experience. Sounds selfish? Well, as Than Geoff likes to point out at the beginning of every one of his guided meditations, it’s not really a selfish thought, because my happiness does not involve depriving anyone else of theirs---unless, of course, I delude myself into thinking that my happiness depends on that new car, or getting rich, or sleeping with someone else’s wife… None of which, as Than Geoff says, is the “true happiness” that can only be found within. And, too, he adds, “my” happiness can only serve to increase the happiness of those around me: inevitably, by its very nature, it spreads to others. When I am truly happy, I can more easily share what I have with my fellow travelers on the human journey through life.

So I tried it out this morning, and had a very pleasant, very calming experience. I recommend it.


fred said...

May all living beings find true happiness. Thanks for laying it out so gracefully this morning, Peter.

carly said...

To the Taoist mind, true happiness is being in harmony with what is right.

P: I read Sharon S. When I reached the paragraph about the robbers, I already knew where it was leading, the implications of self-sacrifice. The Taoist thinker would have had a different answer. He would have said, "Robbers. I will not make that decision easy for you. You must kill who you will and all the blame, burden, and repercussions of your deeds will circle back to you the rest of your life." Therein lies one difference between Buddhist thinking and Taoist thinking.

A great Taoist would not agree with Sharon's statement, "clearly the vicissitudes of life are completely outside our control". This is a fallacy in much of the world population. And I am out of agreement with many of her assumptions in the latter part of her article. For instance, there is a better explanation of the girl at the point of a Nazi gun, other than spaciousness.

The mind thinks constantly. It is natural and cannot be stopped. No one escapes judgmental decisions. The value in question is what is judgment based upon. When the Taoist thinker sees robbers or whoever, he applies all the possibilities, and makes the right decision for action or non-action. He is inclined to non-action and he never considers action only. He knows the use of punishment, that punishment comes in different forms, and he's always willing to pardon the remorseful, to teach, and come to the aid of others.

Sharon's quote of Neruda;

Perhaps the earth can teach us, as when everything seems dead in winter and later proves to be alive. a Taoist basic principle. It does not say that love determines what was, is, or will be, as nature is amoral. But it certainly doesn't hurt. Things are based on affinities. The Taoist links love with sublimity, the sublime, converting something inferior to something of higher worth. He also links love with creativity, receptivity, and success. But I've seen nowhere that the Taoist seeks to love those who would be his enemy, but, rather, other ways to deal with that, without the assumption that you lose yourself in the process.