More and more, the teaching practice takes me into the community where I engage directly with students. My focus right now is on bringing the continuity of the Dharma into the market place. Although retreating is an important form for self-knowledge, I find myself less interested in the immediate results of a retreat and more interested in helping students investigate their relationship to the ups and downs of their everyday life.
Nature, death and spontaneous freedom continually interweave themselves into my teaching. From the forest of Thailand, where I spent several years, I bring a deep awareness of the healing quality of nature into my teachings. Relaxing into our true nature allows us to realize what it means to be a human being. It is here we find a resting point, a counterbalance to the speed and turbulence of our culture.
My work in hospice brings a sense of urgency into my teaching. Working with the theme of death and dying reveals the here and now of life to us, how important it is to open to each loss, change and transition that marks our path. Life is precious. We need to awaken without hesitation.
Many of us crave to be more calm and centered. We know that life has more to offer than this fleeting material world. For each of us, the Dharma offers an immediacy of freedom for which we do not have to strive or wait. In practice, we can learn to relax deeply into the moment and rediscover spontaneous freedom.
Reflect on how generosity is related to equality. When you offer a gift to someone you perceive as unequal is that generosity or pity? Feel the difference between these two forms of giving. How does the heart feel and how does the mind hold the offering in a generous act and in pity? When you perceive someone as a human being regardless of their present condition you can only perceive them as equal. When you give to the less fortunate, you are lost in the pain of the circumstances. The generous heart feels that pain but gives to the human being.
This week find several occasions to give something away to someone less privileged. Before you do, release the projections and allow equality to surface. One person giving to another. Look the person in the eye when you hand them the gift. Let your heart meet theirs. Feel the humility of true generosity. Feel the joy of release. Notice the qualitative difference between giving with humility and the self-importance of "helping the disadvantaged."