How do we meet our fear of love?

For my students, the luminous mind is not real. So, I try to engage them by thinking about love. But I am surprised that many of them are afraid of the essence of love. And I see this fear in myself too. So, how do we meet our fear of love?

When you are dealing with students, relying on insight - a vastness of perspective and openness - is very important, because otherwise the mind gets tight and claustrophobic. The education has to be open-minded and connected to insight, opening their mind to a vaster perspective. Then they can find an openness with which to relate to things like the mind and it does not get so tight and won’t feel so claustrophobic. 

It is correct that understanding the original luminosity of the mind is extremely difficult in the beginning. If we start off with teaching something as profound as the ground of original groundless luminosity, they are not going to be able to relate to that or trust it right away. However, using a logic that opens their inner wisdom mind - their prajñā - is essential. Because through prajñā they can be more and more fearless and touch into a fearless kind of love. Studying, contemplating and meditating on interdependence for example can open the insight from within the mind. It can be a way to open the wisdom mind from the inside so more and more fearlessness can come about. That is because they will relate more and more to the way things actually are, rather than incorrect assumptions, superimpositions and their own confused ways of understanding what the nature of reality is. To the degree that you know the nature of reality, to that degree fear can diminish, so it is very important to have an unmistaken view.

They have to learn how to study the causes and conditions of appearances and the causes and conditions of one’s own happiness and one’s own suffering. Everything is changing from moment to moment. And exploring that in a way that is in alignment with the way things actually are is the way to open the wisdom mind from within.

The reason that the wisdom insight is so important is that without it there is no stability in qualities like love. If you introduce a topic such as love and compassion, of course the students will like it and will want to sign on to that. But there is no stability, because it is not connected to causes and conditions of the loving perspective. When the conditions change, it just vanishes. So how do you build stability in something like love, or fearlessness, or compassion?

It has to be connected to insight and understanding interdependence, subtle impermanence and so on. All these many good wonderful qualities, like love, patience, ethical discipline, diligence are all good, but none of them are stable, because they are all dependent on causes and conditions. So of course they might not be able to trust it, or feel afraid of it, because they are not stable. The way towards stability in these types of wholesome qualities like love is by connecting it to insight and understanding. Because when the insight and understanding come, there can start to be something that does not change, otherwise everything changes. When they start to intuit something that is not changing, then there is something that they can trust more, and the fear will start to diminish more and more, so then they can have fearless love, based on this wisdom. 

Take–the statement that the nature of mind is luminous for example, it is presented as an assertion, a statement or a belief. Of course it is difficult to relate to that, because if you don’t have context for that, then you just think “this is me” “this body and this situation here is me” and “there is this secret hiding place somewhere inside where this luminous nature could hide”. That does not really make sense, it is not going to be found and people are not going to believe it. So it is tricky. It is true that the nature of the mind is luminous, we all have it and it goes completely beyond any religious tradition, nobody owns that, everybody has access to that. And yet it could be hard to relate to or believe in, because it is presented as an assertion.

Perhaps a way to talk about this that would bring up less resistance is exceptional and limitless compassion and insight. What I mean by that is that it cannot be broken or disturbed by other conditions. And that is why it is universal - whatever conditions it meets in the world, in different contexts, beliefs and religions - it cannot be destroyed, disturbed or overcome, it is limitless. Everything else is limited. An example of something that is exceptional or limitless is a mind that when it encounters suffering, it results in bliss. If you can transform everything you experience from suffering into bliss, that is an undefeatable perspective, an undefeatable mind. How could anything disturb that because anything it encounters gets turned into bliss? That is what I mean by exceptional.

Set aside what you might be doing in your own mind with your own feelings. Imagine the capacity to encounter any kind of experience and be able to transform suffering into bliss, that is exceptional. An example of the other quality I am highlighting here, limitlessness, a metaphor for that is that it is like space, which is completely limitless. Anything on this earth, however big or great we think it is, is like a speck of dust in the face of limitlessness of space. That is what limitlessness is like and it is an analogy for insight or wisdom. Only wisdom has the capacity for that kind of limitlessness. Insight or wisdom is actually limitless in its capacity like space. Anything else on earth that is not that is just like a speck of dust in the end.