A few days ago Chong Go Sunim, our Korean monk-correspondent, wrote something in his blog that’s been tumbling in my mind like a tennis shoe in a clothes dryer: There’s only helping, not “helping her.” There’s only loving, not “loving them.” There’s only hating, not “hating them.”
Brilliant! With a simple shift of emphasis away from “the other,” responsibility for thoughts and behaviors falls clearly in my court. It’s up to me to decide on a course of action as situations occur. Rather than being angry at you, I notice anger arising and deal with it accordingly. I don’t help you — implying that you’re helpless — but stand ready to serve. I don’t worry whether he loves me or she appreciates my efforts, but look for ways to cultivate loving kindness. As Marcus writes (at the blog mentioned above):
“Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity.” — Shunryu Suzuki, late founder of the San Francisco Zen Center.