Meditation & Health #23 – The Listening Heart
The Listening Heart
A Dharma Teaching by Grandmaster JinBodhi
Compilation by Xiang Yun
Mimosa, a type of grass, closes its leaves when touched. Even plants exhibit feelings and it is necessary for us to treat them with love. How should we treat things and matters so they will have a sense of being blessed? What kind of unexpected benefits would greet us if we were to live with love and listen to the world with our heart?
Many years ago, I wrote a short article with this focus: People need to live with kindness always. Starting from the moment we step out of our homes, we should have a sense of happiness and blessedness. With each breath we inhale, look at the immense sky and smell the fresh air with loving-kindness. Greet the plants cheerfully as you walk along. Imagine if we carelessly trampled the flowers and plants, how would they feel? Flora and fauna have emotions; their way of expressing them is simply different from ours. Though we may not fully empathize, it is necessary to treat them with compassion. Only with a kind heart toward all things can we find peace and happiness.
Cultivate a magnanimous heart which encompasses Nature and all things including daily necessities. We must start by treasuring our clothes, the cutlery we use, and our pets. Over time, extend this compassionate love and care to all the things in your world.
I enjoy drinking tea out of the most ordinary porcelain cup. I am filled with love every time I relax with a cup of tea. I appreciate the cup and the water that’s poured into it. I always praise the water for its refreshing taste and nourishment. On the contrary, consuming water in a negative state of mind, without gratitude for its blessings, is akin to drinking poison.
Messages From Nature
While prospecting for rich goldmines, an experienced miner will grab and sniff a lump of soil, or pick up an ordinary stone to examine it. Nature is able to inform him if there exists a goldmine nearby and whether it is worth the time and effort required for an excavation.
Learn to communicate with Nature. Such communication enhances our vitality and wisdom, and intensifies our senses. When your mind and heart are open, you can even predict the weather from feeling a piece of rock. Bear this phrase in mind: Listen with your heart. Practice listening with your heart to receive subtle messages from Nature.
Teacups, manmade by firing natural clay in kilns at high temperature, contain the emotions of their creators. Like rocks, teacups can reveal messages to us.
Make good use of the knowledge received from feeling and listening to the world with an open heart. The keys to a deeper knowing are loving-kindness and compassion.
Turning a Situation Around
A strong intuition enables you to solve distressing matters and turn them around positively. A person who listens with their heart starts to experience a transformation in their character. No longer will they get agitated easily or pick a fight with their spouse.
Let’s say your spouse was testy when they got home from work and criticized the meal you had prepared. In many cases, a fight would ensue. However, listening with your heart enables you to deal with the situation differently.
You know that there must be a reason for their outburst. You choose to respond with empathy, knowing your spouse is exhausted after a day’s work. By listening with your heart, you realize that your spouse is closer to you than to anyone, and the closest relationships are strong enough to bear spontaneous emotional outbursts.
Comfort, understanding, and praise develop when you listen with your heart instead of just with your ears. Relationships grow healthier, more joyous and peaceful. Children benefit greatly when you listen to them with your whole heart and endeavor to understand their changing needs.
Listening with our heart is also a valuable asset in business and career development. An entrepreneur who has the aptitude of listening to his customers’ needs attentively is most likely to take their feedback into the production and packaging of his goods. As a result, his business will thrive.
Serve Selflessly and Lovingly
Through learning from the teachings of Buddha, we hope our lives improve. We wish for our family to be happier, our children to be healthier, our business to be flourishing, and to live a life filled with love and affection.
With compassion and loving-kindness as the basic principles of living, we cultivate the best of ourselves. By applying them in the roles we play at home and at work, we can be very outstanding and productive people.
I am recalling a movie I watched in China when I was young. One of the characters, a government official, said, “If an official does not serve his people, it would be better for him to return home and be a farmer.”
If a leader does not serve his citizens selflessly, what is the use of his governance? An ethical leader protects the citizens’ fundamental rights, putting their needs before his own. If a leader possesses a magnanimous and loving heart, the people will be happy and blessed.
A person, regardless of his own troubles, needs to uphold the moral principles of life. By doing so, he receives great benefits which impact his mental realm and destiny. Likewise, in meditation your goal may be to attain good health or personal achievements. Nonetheless, I hope we can use compassion to measure and examine all matters; and use a loving heart to listen to the world and thus resolve issues in our lives. Good results are within reach.
Listen to Wise Words With a Broad Mind
When we choose to have a compassionate heart, our egoistic mind transforms, flowing in harmony with all living beings in the Universe. A broad mind obtains boundless knowledge and energy, and receives help from the natural world.
Some people have the affinity to hear the wise words of others. Their lives undergo major transformation almost immediately. They may achieve career success after a few short years. This is a form of enlightenment. On the contrary, there are people who, upon hearing words of wisdom, do not come to any realization. They continue to live in their old ways and everything remains unchanged for them years later, except that their health deteriorates. This is the gap between enlightenment and delusion.
It is my hope that everyone comes to profound, life-changing realizations through the gateway of compassion. Broaden your heart to naturally untie the knots that have caused your misery, to alleviate your illnesses, and to obtain lasting radiant health and true happiness along the path of transformation.