Stories & Life
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Mindfulness and compassion

One of the central insights from Jesus’ teachings was forgiveness, and the central insight of forgiveness is its power to liberate us. To forgive is to let go, to release the anger and resentment that poisons the mind.

Metta is a basic quality of awareness itself

 

 

I was recently listening to Joseph Goldstein’s teachings on Mindfulness (Abiding in Mindfulness), and he said that “metta [loving-kindness] is a basic quality of awareness itself.” For me, the implication is that the Buddhist emphasis on mental awareness combined with the Christian emphasis on love and charity compliment each other, and perhaps are, in fact, simply different nuances of a luminous mind and an open, liberated heart.

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Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

2 Comments

    • Yes, it’s been interesting to think more about the connection between the Buddha’s path to liberation and the message of Jesus, centered on love, and in particular the forgiveness and love of enemies. I’ve been thinking a good bit about this over the last year or so, because 2016 has been a year for me to focus on Metta, i.e., on loving-kindness. (Interestingly, the Hebrew “hesed” or “chesed” is often translated as “loving-kindness.”) If not combined with Metta, it is possible that mindfulness practices can become “cold,” for lack of a better word, at least for some of us. Hence, a practice of loving-kindness and/or prayer (centering/contemplative prayer) can be a supplement that “warms” a mindfulness practice….The overlap, though, seems to be that both love and mindfulness are liberating states of mind/heart. They are both only possible when we let go of what the Apostle Paul called “the desires of the flesh.”

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