This past week I found myself amongst the land of queens, fairies, hippies, herbal smokers and free thinkers. I also lavished in sunny skies, clean air and warm temperatures. You may have guessed the place by this description, or got thrown off by the sunny skies bit. San Francisco is the city of which I speak of so fondly.
While I was out there I had the opportunity to connect with old friends and mingle and meet new ones. It was also my first brush with Q Sangha and Mindful Mondays with Interfaith buddhist spirituality at the MCC-SF.
It was in the confines of a spacious church setting that I listened to bells of mindfulness, meditated (3 seperate 20 minute sessions I might add), and listened to the Dharma speak about love, joy, compassion, and equanimity.
I will admit at first I was a bit skeptical about even attending this session. I pictured my New York negative energy poisoning the blissful buddhist followers and being thrown out by a group of robe wearing shaved head folks. If I had thought about it more I would have realized that could have never happened because acceptance is one of Buddha's golden rules.
After an initial shock at having to wear a white scarf around me and forgetting to bow with hands facing one another palms together to almost everyone I encountered on the way in, I began to enjoy it and I learned something.
The Dharma's talk was on love, joy, compassion and equanimity. We were asked to partner up with someone and for 3 minutes exchange our thoughts and definitions on the above terms. I thankfully got away easy and paired up with my good friend who took me there in the first place.
After the paired discussions were over it was time to listen to the Dharma and hear his definitions and thoughts regarding the 4 terms. The following is a synopsis of that teaching.
Love--(metta is the latin term) Means to give happiness or friendship.
It is often associated with the element Fire and the season
Summer. It is active.
Compassion--(kauna is the latine term) Is the kind of love that can
relieve suffering. To heal. It is associated with
the element Water and the season Autumn. It is also active.
Joy--(mudita is the latin term) It is when you are surprised by negativity
but you can still see the positive and you rejoice in it. Love can
can see the truth of the positive. To celebrate. It is associated
with the element Earth and the season winter. It is an attitude.
Equanimity--(upekka is the latin term) Is the nondiscrimination between the
help and the helper. No seperation exists between the perceiver and
the perceived. It's just help. ie: when we give money to a homeless
person, we do it because we want to out of love not out of anything
else and we don't see ourselves as the better one because we gave.
It is associated with the element Air and the season Spring. It too is
also an attitude.
At the conclusion of the meeting the Dharma challenged us to practice what we learned that evening and experience the rewards of living the buddhist way.
Since leaving the meeting and returning back to NYC I have decided to try and keep up the struggle of seeing the world and all it's inhabitants in a positive and loving light. Why not?