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love, hate, etc.

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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.


5 responses »

  1. i like this too. it seems to take ‘me’ out of it. perhaps it is easier to observe and let go when the person is out? are we attached to my anger, your anger, my hurt, your hurt, my joy, your joy rather than simply anger, hurt, joy?

    i also laughed at the thought of you as tennis shoe in dryer! good visual!

    • Not an easy task, but a good place to catch the ego making things complicated. Saying plain “hurt” takes me to where hurt resides; not out there but somewhere in my heart. Not “she dumped me” but “my heart feels bruised and abandoned.” Subtle distinctions.

      See the since added quote by Shunryu Suzuki.

  2. Barry Briggs posted this at in Seoul/Korea where this topic originates a few days ago:

    Just to pile on a little . . . Not only is there no helping “her,” “him” or “them,” but there’s also no “I” doing the helping. I don’t mean this in a heavy-handed Buddhist metaphysical way. I only mean that if we act with any trace of self-interest, our “help” (or “love” or “compassion”) will be tainted through and through. Which isn’t very helpful.

  3. I think: “I love”. At first it was: “I” But then I learned, through an open, broken heart… I had wrong understanding. It is simply “I love…” There is no direct object. I just simply love…

    There is no rejection of the love, no regret of the love, no living in the “rear view mirror” in analyzing the love. Love is simple, even tho bitter sweet. It is simply “I love”…

    And so, I surmise, that unconditional love starts at this root: ” I love…” period. And if the object of my love… does not accept the love, misbehaves poorly inspite of the love…that is not of consequence. Love is unconditional… “I love”..

    So…as with life as a verb, love is also a verb.

    Note: along with this insight, I have also gained insight on healthy boundaries.

    • Thanks, cem3

      Your post reminds me that the verb to love can be DECLINED, as in:
      I love
      thou lovest
      he/she loves
      we love

      And it reminds me that everything after “I love” is indeed a declination – down hill.
      Perhaps nothing matters beyond “I love”.



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