Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could learn–I mean really learn– about love by reading Shakespeare, instead of getting your heart broken, and living through the pain of loving someone who can’t or won’t love you back? Or wouldn’t it be easy if we could get everything we needed to develop our nonviolence by quoting the great peacemakers at length, without ever needing to hold back a single impulse toward greed or resentment? But it doesn’t work that way. As the Buddha says, we would end up like a cowherd counting another’s cows.
Learning wisdom in action involves more than our intellectual capacities. The intellect is a helpful tool, but ultimately knowledge must reach the heart–it must, in other words, become realized, seamlessly woven into our thoughts, words and actions as a natural given. We have to listen to our experiences more, instead of letting the intellect constrain what we are capable of experiencing with its preconceived notions.
A mystic might say that this as a kind of faith, of all things! The kind where you experience before you understand, and seek to understand only what you have experienced–which, if we learn to look closely and deeply enough, is touching on an ever-present state of awareness, unbound from all thought, an awareness that ultimately connects us with everything in life.
In nonviolence, we don’t have to take it that far (if we don’t want to!). All we have to do is to search our experiences and let them speak to us: did that harsh word increase or reduce suffering? Did I feel happy when the the person I love experienced something they enjoyed? Then, with the help of the intellect, we can analyze our experience (our intellects LOVE meaningful tasks) and ask, for example, how to expand this reality to inform institution building and social movements.
Learn something about love experientially today.
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 firstname.lastname@example.org