Anyone who reads this blog knows how much I respect Tara Brach, a psychotherapist and Buddhist teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington D.C.. I listen to her podcasts as often as I can, and find them immensely comforting. I don’t know who wrote the poem I quote below. It had a profound impact on me though, and that is the point of putting it in this blog. There are people who seem to dance through life, never questioning their right to a place on this over-populated world. I envy them that feeling. One of my biggest issues with the way Christianity has been co-opted and perhaps mistranslated over the years is the idea that we are all imperfect, even “bad”. Certain denominations are more damning about the message than others. The greatest spiritual poets I know always felt “beloved on this earth.” There was no denying anyone else’s “right” to a place in heaven, whether gay or straight, whatever color or creed, and that union with the beloved was seen as our natural, true birthright. The struggle of my life, and the idea that has lead to my worst self-destructive impulses come from the idea that I am flawed, sinful, ugly in the sight of God, and not deserving of love. Not all of that came from the church. Some came from genetics, some from parents with good intentions doing their best to form me into a model of loving kindness. However I cannot stop running into a brick wall, so much so that I’ve lost access to memories, that love of self has to be the basis for loving others. I know it’s a self-help cliche’, but it’s a reality for me. I blame myself for all my children’s suffering, for the suffering of anyone who knows me, yet take no ownership of the love I give or it’s importance.
As you can see, there is a lot of work to be done with my head, and my heart. What about you? Have you gotten what you wanted from this life? In a time where greed has brought the world to it’s knees and so many of us have to worry about just having food and a place to live, a job, income – have you gotten what you wanted from this life? I’m still seeking to find that lightness of feeling “beloved on the earth.” It will require breaking my heart, facing fears that are overwhelming, and yet if I truly want to be of help to others, I see no other option for myself. I have to find my way through the maze of self-hatred and delusion to the heart of the Beloved, a heart that is also my own. I bow to Tara Brach, and am so indebted to her teaching, as I am to Susan Piver, Pema Chodron, Jack Kornfield, and so many other Buddhist teachers, as well as Christians who’ve had the courage to teach the REAL doctrine of Christ. Love yourself, make the pursuit of love your highest calling. I believe that is what Jesus truly called us to do and why he was considered so radical and dangerous. People who are taught to love themselves have the hearts of warriors, and will defend their fellow humans at complete risk to themselves. What could be more radical than that? May you feel beloved on the earth this day, and may the spirit as you know it touch your heart and your life with all the love that you were intended to have at birth. Blessings and joy to you, Namaste’.
And did you get what you wanted from this life even so?
And what did you want? To call myself Beloved.
To feel myself Beloved on the earth.
Alec (a deceased member of IMCW, whose last name Tara didn’t mention)
Also reported to be a poem by Raymond Cheever on Poem Finder