Within yourselves let grow a boundless love
for all creatures…Strive for this with a
one-pointed mind; your life will bring
heaven to earth.”
— Buddha

“I have a—it feels like emptiness– inside me—a hole in my gut– feels like a ten thousand foot chasm—it can’t possibly be filled– but any– any drop of love– would be– appreciated.”

I remember speaking those words when it was my turn on what we used to call the ‘hot seat’, at a 43 hour group therapy ‘marathon’ (with only one three hour break) my wife Lee and I were facilitating.

It was one of my early attempts to embrace the emotional truth of who I was at the time, of what my body had been trained to suppress as a child, in school, and among my peers.

In the years that followed I learned, sometimes painfully, sometimes joyfully,that at the bottom of my unfillable chasm was a mother lode of playful and exciting creativity and love, often hidden deep among the hated garbage of thrown-away sorrow, unclean rage, buried fears, unacceptable shame, self-disgust wearing a mask of boredom.

And, yes, the beautiful, childlike, spontaneous, creative, crazy wisdom every artist longs for, totally alien to the distorted idea that only neurosis can produce art of any value, jumps into consciousness whenever we practice panoramic, choiceless awareness, the awareness of Pure Being that enables us to love ourselves and all beings with a skillfulness far beyond the ordinary, self-limiting conventions we have been taught to obey.

One thing I have never forgotten from that 43 hour marathon was the realization that holes in the gut are universal among us human beings, and come in many different forms.

What fills that hole in my gut? I have discovered that the ‘hole’ becomes at least temporarily filled whenever self-less thoughts, words and actions lead me to dig deep into and drink from the inexhaustible well within all beings, a well of loving-kindness, compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, joy and peace.


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