Saturday, August 01, 2009

Jeffrey Hopkins - How We Relate to Others

Here is this week's dharma quote from Snow Lion Publications.

Buddhist Practices
for Connecting with Others
by Jeffrey Hopkins
foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama


Dharma Quote of the Week

It's interesting how we freeze our view of particular people. We exaggerate certain aspects we see in others, thereby freezing them into narrow, unproductive categories of relationships and limiting our ability to feel close and act out of a sense of intimacy. We lock them into certain patterns of behavior, and then, because we see these attitudes as solid, influence others to stay in those patterns: "This person is just..." But when you think and feel, "Two lifetimes ago this person was my best friend," the possibilities with that person now in this life open up. Consider a coworker, a colleague, a fellow student; you don't have to think about her in just the limited way that you have been. "She was a great friend in the past. I doubt she's going to be my best friend in this lifetime, but there's no reason to have frozen her into the particular mind-set I found myself in yesterday." All sorts of possibilities open up.

Here in this meditation of recognizing others as having been our best friend, we are loosening that process by superimposing the "best friend" feeling on lesser ones. We're becoming much more flexible. The practice reveals a plenitude of possibilities with others. What would it be like for these people if we acted this way with them, not externally but internally? If, when we saw them, we had an internal feeling of such strong intimacy--if we had an internal feeling of, "Oh, I'm meeting with my best of friends"--how do you think this would affect others? What would happen if we inwardly treated strangers in stores as best of friends? There would be a greater warmth and a considerable amount of extra, flexible energy available both to us and the world.

~ From A Truthful Heart: Buddhist Practices for Connecting with Others by Jeffrey Hopkins, foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, published by Snow Lion Publications

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