My root spiritual teacher, Nyoshul Khenpo, once said that a moment of enlightenment is a moment when we realize “the blessings that are always pouring forth.” We are, by nature, endowed with qualities of absolute goodness—purest love, compassion, wisdom, and tranquility. Those radiant qualities are intrinsic to our being. They are among the “blessings” to which Khenpo refers. A moment of enlightenment is a moment in which we newly notice such “blessings” as having been all around us, and within us, from the beginning. Whenever we are ready to notice, we can sense their healing, liberating energy pouring forth right here, right now.
One such radiant quality is unconditional love, the kind of love that doesn’t care what someone has thought or done but simply wishes him or her deep well-being and joy. It’s like the unconditional and unreserved love that a wise, devoted parent has for a child. That capacity for love is within each of us and has been active all around us, pervading our world from the moment we were born.
The claim that love pervades this world may not sound real to you but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Most of us just haven’t learned to pay much attention to the countless moments of love, kindness, and care that surround us each day: a child at the store reaching for her mother’s hand, an elderly stranger at the park who smiles upon a young family, a grocery clerk who beams at you as she hands you your change.
The “blessings that are always pouring forth” include the love that has permeated our lives, peeking at us through many eyes. Think, for example, of someone you loved to be near when you were a child: a parent or grandparent, a special aunt or uncle, a family friend or teacher—someone it felt wonderful to be with. Why did you like to be near that person so much? Probably because she radiated a wish of love to you through the quality of her presence, her words, her play with you, or simply through her smiling eyes when you came near. Try to remember someone like that from your childhood right now. Hold that person in your mind for a moment and recall how it felt to be near her. That’s what it is like to receive the love that simply wishes for your happiness. We like to be near people like that because we have a deep need to receive their unspoken love, to drink up its life-giving goodness.
That radiant blessing of love has been coming to us from the start, not just from a few people close to us, but also from many not personally known to us or people long forgotten. So many have offered themselves to us quietly, unnoticed and unremarked upon, such as those who served in our school, who coached sports for us as small children, who taught us music and clapped for us, who watched over us with kindness and care wherever we ran and played. Then there are all the adults who put loving care into their work, as our teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, craftsmen, bakers, librarians, and waitresses. Yet we may never have noticed the extent of such care and consideration. No one actually verbalizes: “Out of loving concern for all the children in this neighborhood, including you, I am helping to build this playground,” or “I am now sending you the wish of love; that’s why you like to be near me.” And the child doesn’t think “I am now receiving the wish of love.” So we may never become conscious of how much loving care pervades our world.
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