(True Healing . . .)
Yet in the midst of these things I see glimmers of a faint yet certain assurance that someday we’ll all forget the terrible things we’ve done to each other and the planet, and realize our deep and abiding connection to one another. There is within each of us a place of knowing that is so vast we have no words to adequately describe it. We call it lots of things: the human heart, the universe, our center, whatever. Inside, we know what it is. We just seem to have lost touch with it.
Step by Step So how do we heal something we don’t know is broken? Most of us live our lives on automatic pilot. I ask myself: what can I do to heal it up? Obviously, I understand that, as one individual, I can’t save the world. I must learn discernment. And, if healing is to occur, I must learn to take responsibility for the things I can do, open to compassion for the sometimes scary and hopeless conditions we all find ourselves in. I must develop trust and courage.
Lately, I’ve been working on seeing everyone as Christ or the Buddha. And on my own rickety, open hearted, step-by-step path toward healing, I’ve been adding to a “personal healing toolbox” to help me along. Inside, I have a ten piece socket set called the “Ten Perfections,” or paramitas, that were discovered by a way-skillful guy named Siddharta. He had some of the same concerns I’ve been discussing here, only around twenty-five hundred years ago. As you may know, he became a Buddha—an “enlightened one.”
To me, Buddhism is more a method than a religion. You can be a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew, a Masai warrior, a Catholic priest, or nun, no matter. Buddhism allows for an ongoing examination of what’s happening, from whatever perspective you’re coming from.
So, here they are, the Ten Perfections of the Heart, or paramitas, as elucidated by the Buddha. May we develop our own ways of using them in helping us remember our connection to one another.
Generosity—Practice generosity and gentleness—with self, others, and planet.
Virtue—Practice integrity in personal being, and in the world. Our words become as gold. Care for others before self.
Renunciation—Let go of grasping for people, things, outcomes. Let go of unmindful physical experiences. Remain open to grace.
Energy—remember to be present. Utilize wise effort. Be a spiritual warrior— warriors see only challenges. Use life force for beauty. Don’t fear to make a mistake.
Wisdom—Be open to see things as they are, not wishing for what we want to see. Let go, and be open to new creation. Ride easy with life.
Patience—Know that peace and happiness are found in the moment— there is only the eternal present. Bear the quality of constancy, rather than waiting—there’s a difference. Meet each being and situation with deep respect.
Graciousness—Tell the truth; speak only what is true. Speak gently and with kindly intent.
Dedication—Determine to be wakeful, mindful, to see things as they are. Be compassionate and dedicated to the awakening and healing of all life in every circumstance and action. Life is led from the heart and dedicated to awakening.
Loving Kindness—Release fear and any sense of separateness from each other and the planet. Love with depth. Practice forgiveness of self and others. Let go of judging. Become open-hearted, step by step.
Equanimity—Be balanced. Care for all life, in all circumstances, from the place of a peaceful heart. Wish every being well. Learn to rest in your own true nature. Remember we can only let go into ourselves, we can’t let go for others.
A Blessing I find the paramitas useful as I tread my way toward healing. Not a quick-fix in sight, but without a doubt, their practice contains the power to heal a life, disease or no disease. My wish is that you may find them useful also.
For me, healing has become a word for what happens when we all remember who we really are, and where we really come from. May we all be at ease with each other. May we be blest with a happy, peaceful life, and a healthy, happy planet.
Fred Mills is a frequent contributing author to Alternatives Magazine. He served as a Marine Sergeant in Vietnam, and is also a veteran police officer from southern California. A recipient of numerous awards and honors from the Marine Corps, the U.S. Congress, the California State Legislature, and the American Legion, Fred has recently moved to Mosier, Oregon in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge where he will be working on his first book, and bird watching. Fred welcomes your email.z