This week is the last practice around the five strengths – the strength of aspiration. This strength is connected to the practice. According to Trungpa Rinpoche, a practitioner should (1) end his or her meditation with the aspiration to single-handedly free all beings from suffering, (2) hold the relative reality (that human life is bound by suffering) and ultimate reality (enlightenment of myself and all beings is possible in this lifetime) at all times, even in dreams and (3) apply far-reaching kindness, generosity and love in spite of whatever chaos and/or obstacles arise. Basically, this strength is our deepest aspirations in practice but you’ll have to look between the lines to see where the strength comes from.
First, having an aspiration to single-handedly free all beings from suffering may seem ridiculous and not even possible on the first pass. But if you contemplate the possibility, you can see that this aspect is really pointing to the aspiration of genuine Metta. In Metta practice we send the aspiration of liberation to our self, those we admire, friends/family, neutral beings and difficult beings. In other words…everyone. Also, when we send Metta we are not doing some half-hearted ritual. True Metta is connected to our heart and sent as true reality. We are in affect, single-handled seeking to free all beings from suffering.
Second, often we want to practice in a way that the relative reality of samsara will end and everything will be in the peace and ease of ultimate reality. This, however, is contrary to the nature of liberation. Liberation of the mind – enlightenment – would only be present without preference. This means we can’t prefer one state over another. We need to learn to hold the truth that to be human means to be in samsara and simultaneously see the freedom that lies within it. It takes practice to see this and that is the strength of this second aspect.
Finally, having connected to Metta and acceptance of the true nature of human existence – we simply bring the practice in all things. When we have some insight, we look deeper. If we get a sense of freedom around an area of our life, we start in on another area. We do this by bring kindness, generosity and love into everything. And when we can’t – we investigate what is preventing us. Most of us rarely live with the kind of kindness, generosity and love that beings such as the Buddha, Pema Chodron, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Harriet Tubman, St. Teresa and Thich Nhat Hanh, Archbishop Desmond Tutu live with. We simply assume that they are special. What if we actually aspired to live with this level of kindness, generosity and love. Do we really believe our lives would be worse off? Have you ever considered what stops you from living such a life? I’m willing to bet than none of these beings knew what their lives would turn into and that they struggled and continue to struggle with the same chaos and obstacles we struggle with.