I find teaching to be a very deep and powerful "no self" practice. When I connect with others during Dharma talks--in the intimacy of small groups, and while holding meditation practice interviews--I am continually reminded to know, and be, in a place of clarity, spaciousness and immediate presence. Being able to offer students such a place of connection is my greatest pleasure and inspiration, as well as the most appreciated challenge in my teaching practice.
For me, the real fruit of the teaching is seeing the beauty of a gradual, and sometimes sudden, unfolding of a heartmind into its true self; seeing the variety of ways a person's essential, creative energy of being flows into the world.
On one end of the teaching, I am excited and inspired by students who are deeply committed to long-term, intensive practice. On the other end (and of course they're connected), I find that working closely with people at the grass roots level--in a co-creative process of developing and sustaining Dharma practice, study and community opportunitiies on a day-to-day basis--is equally exciting and inspiring.
From the immediacy of presence flows a wisdom that naturally connects us to the way of things. This amazing gift of mindfulness provides us with a spaciousness where we can make appropriate, healthy and creative life choices. Rather than being caught up in our old, conditioned habits, mindfulness provides us with the gift of engagement at its best. This is the Gift of the Dharma that we offer to all beings.
An inner wealth of generosity is powerful medicine. An antidote to the anguish and confusion that's generated through the training to accumulate and fixate upon and cling to our accumulations, generosity a seamless circle - giving and receiving. It feeds and grows itself.
There is great power and strength in the capacity to connect within our self and to others. Directly, clearly, patiently and fearlessly with a heart/mind that is free of ill-will and rooted in lovingkindness and mindfulness.
Mindfulness is needed in all instances. It has the capacity to connect with and accept whatever phenomenon is presenting itself at any of the six sense doors without judgement, evaluation or the attachment of self-identification. Mindfulness is the "mother" of all the factors of enlightenment. It offers the great intimacy with experience that is needed for the door of truth to open.
Spiritual joy-bliss-rapture makes the mind/the heart bright, light, pliable, and open. It's rooted in our practice along the way of this journey to awakening. This bright and buoyant energy of mind and body helps to inspire and sustain the effort that is needed for practicing.
The bright and buoyant energy of joy, this "lightness of being", and the arising calm and quiet of a tranquil body and mind are essential aspects and fruits of this path along the way to awakening.
The enlightenment factor of tranquility, the calm serenity that begins to evolve out of the connection, interest and joy in seeing things more directly and clearly, brings a quieting of the disturbances of mind and body. Tranquility prepares the mind for deepening concentration, which is the 6th enlightenment factor. With a strengthening of moment-to-moment concentration, clarity and insight arise quite naturally.
Compassion - one of the two wings of liberation: It's the heart felt connection to beings, and our way of being in this world that ensues from this. Compassion: Arising out of a clear and deep understanding/knowing of Dukkha (the unsatisfactoriness of all phenomena); the root cause of this suffering and the way of it's end.
Compassion--the heart of tenderness, openness and great strength. As we turn our capacity to unconditionally open to and accept towards suffering, we connect with our courage and strength to genuine care and move towards the alleviation of suffering.