We are at a time when old systems and ideas are being questioned and falling apart, and there is a great opportunity for something fresh to emerge. I have no idea what that will look like and no preconceptions about how things should turn out, but I do have a strong sense that the time we live in is a fertile ground for training in being open-minded and open-hearted. If we can learn to hold this falling apartness without polarizing and without becoming fundamentalist, then whatever we do today will have a positive effect on the future. Working with polarization and dehumanization won’t put an immediate end to the ignorance, violence, and hatred that plague this world. But every time we catch ourselves polarizing with our thoughts, words, or actions, and every time we do something to close that gap, we’re injecting a little bodhicitta into our usual patterns. We’re deepening our appreciation for our interconnectedness with all others. We’re empowering healing rather than standing in its way. And because of this interconnectedness, when we change our own patterns, we help change the patterns of our culture as a whole.~ Pema Chödrön, American Buddhist nun
Etymologically, bodhicitta is a combination of the Sanskrit words bodhi and citta. Bodhi means awake, enlightened, or completely open. Citta means mind, heart, or attitude. Citta derives from the Sanskrit root cit, and means “that which is conscious.”
One of the exercises Pema recommends for infusing our relating with bodhicitta is a practice she calls “just like me.” For example, anytime we find our mind judging someone else, we can remember that “just like me,” she gets trapped in old storylines. Or, just like me, he wants to be heard or acknowledged. Or, “just like me,” sometimes they get lost and fall down the rabbit hole. Having this awareness snaps us out of unconsciously reacting and creating unnecessary melodramas.
And it’s great to be reminded that we are so much more than any finite story we happen to get entangled in. I value the “just like me” practice because I experience it as Grace coming to my aid, instantly transmuting lower vibrations to higher vibrations. And we all know the joy of vibrational elevation, especially when shared with others.
Pema’s “just like me” practice recognizes the human challenges we all face. And it honors that something truly holy and sacred is taking place here on earth in which we can choose to be active participants. When we imbue our expression with bodhicitta, we can meet each person with the intention to be a vehicle to dissolve all barriers to the realization of the glory of being.
We, the authors of this blog, dedicate it to the transparent exploration of the world’s sacred scripture and enlightened spiritual thought. We believe that the original inspiration of all faiths comes from a common source, named and revered in a myriad of ways. With that understanding, the innumerable symbols, beliefs, and practices of faith cease to divide. They become open windows to a common reality that inspires and unifies us. We find deeper insight and nourishment in our own faith and from the expression of faith from others.
We hope these weekly quotations and meditations speak to your heart and soul.