tmbt: to know it’s true
I grew up surrounded and bombarded by the Platitudes of a good, small midwestern community. Do right. Always. See things for what they are (either of us or against us). Etc. Etc. Etc. I never understood what my father meant by, “What is and what should never be.” All I understood is that there seemed to be this narrow tunnel of righteousness that barreled through the center of our lives and only a few chose it… and they were the only ones who deserved respect. Needless to say, I inherited a weird, ingrained sense of superiority that I’ve now actively spent years deconstructing.
As a practicing Buddhist of eight years, I’ve been taught to look at a situation and see what it is, the co-dependent forces bringing it to being and the inevitability of it’s change. Within these and other teachings, there seems to be a strong underlying belief: no one is “right” about anything because every experience is different. But Buddhism, like many spiritual traditions, does hold to a truth. That is the truth of the unending quality of love. This love, in my tradition, is actually the luminous, expansive stillness in and under everything – under the aggression and passion, the ignorance and intensity. Under it all there is a quiet ever-present hum of purity and bliss. And in fact, that it is not just under and inside it all, but is a part of it all at the same time.
I’ve heard contemplative Christians refer to this essential nature as “Christ-nature” and Buddhists call it “Buddha-nature”. In my experience, it is simply the most fundamental form of love. And knowing this love cannot fall away, be lost, or uglied, I breath easier and sleep more soundly than I did growing up in the world that taught me the only thing to depend on was my own ability to muscle myself into living up to “what is and what should never be.” I know that love is true and I am honored when I see it well up into human form as gifts to me. I am honored to have it to give others. I am happy beyond measure to hear it expressed, even if our ability to be ever-present with this ever-present essence is sometimes, well often, flawed.
We say “I love you” all the time. Sometimes we mean it selfishly. Sometimes we mean it with all our big beautiful compassionate hearts. And sometimes we mean it in the way that only reflects the deep well of luminous bliss that we carry underneath it all. Lately, I’ve had run-ins with all of these. The knowing that the love is true in the midst of confusion and uncertainty is the most beautiful thing I could experience. It’s the most beautiful thing by far.