Saturday, December 27, 2008

Producing Fruit...

So last night I was lying in bed thinking about life and I realized that I haven't really done anything lately to help become the kind of person I aspire to be on the emotional, human front. Sure, I read a lot and grow in knowledge and that is important, but I have more respect for the unlearned lover of all people than the man with a doctorate and without a heart. So I've decided that I'm going to work towards cultivating the Fruits of the Spirit. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. These traits are enumerated by Paul (one of my least favorite writers of all time) in the book of Galations.

I am enthralled with these ideas. There is a great song sung in church that says, "And they'll know we are Christians by our love," which is what the fruits of the spirit are all about. It ties in with another one of my favorite quotes which says, "Go out and preach the gospel. And if you must, use words." My friends, I don't know up from down most of the time in terms of spirituality, but I do know that people need to be loved like Jesus loved. Actively developing the fruits of the spirit will help me be the positive force I want to be in the world.

So I'll start with love. How do we develop it, not only for others but for ourselves as well? I think that it starts with a healthy hedging of the ego, a sense of impermanence about the world, and an understanding of the concept of equanamity. All of these are Buddhist tenents, I realize, but I think they accurately pin down what love is all about. When we realize that nothing is permanent, we are freed to engage fully in this moment (which is the only moment we can love and be loved). When we let go of our ego, we are allowed to love people for who they are, not for how they make us feel or for what they give us. When we are equanamous, we are able to love everyone, not just those who we think "deserve" love. The prison inmate needs love. The homeless need love. The CEOs whom we view with contempt also need love. Further, they all deserve to be love. We don't love people because they've changed into our conception of who should be loved. Rather, I think we love people and hopefully THAT transforms them.

That's what I've got so far. Do any of my Buddhist (or Christian) friends have any techniques on deepening our sense of love for others?

1 comment:

Mozart said...

We've got to, I think, let go. We've got to acknowledge our own flaws and our own imperfections--because aren't the flaws and imperfections in others the very things that keep us from loving them? No, other folks aren't perfect...but we're just as far from the ideal, aren't we? We've got to humble ourselves, and stop constantly comparing and competing.

So much easier said than done in this whole social hierarchy thing. But once we realize that we all share that spark of humanity (or whatever it is that unites us all into that great tapestry of equality), then we're much closer to success, I think. We're all in this together. And another conclusion I've come to: I truly believe that everyone is doing the best that he or she can. I don't think anyone sets out with the intention to be a bastard. Everyone is trying to be a good person, just sometimes with limited success. That startling realization made loving people a whole lot easier (at least for me), though I still often fail miserably and fall back on my spiteful, judgemental ways.