How deep is your love?

How deep is your love? Is your love deep enough to speak the uncomfortable truths? Even if they hate you for it? Even if speaking what’s most alive and needed risks the relationship?

How deep is your clarity and selflessness? Is your clarity deep enough to see that not engaging those scary spaces will inevitably deaden the relationship anyway?

How deep is your strength? Are you perpetuating a shallow relationship built on avoiding important blind spots? All the unhealed, festering wounds?

People need a selfless, strong leader. A person trustworthy enough to risk surrendering, to provide the truth, and stay in relationship through and through.

But how does it look in reality?

I speak these truths to you. I see you sob. I notice the tension and emotion in my body. Once upon a time, I perceived this phenomenon as a problem. As suffering. As angry, resentment, fear, self-judgment, and onward. But, maybe, it’s just pain. Just pain being mutually felt and shared. Maybe, when someone is being completely real, it’s impossible to not be impacted. When someone breaks down, the boundaries between my self and you break down. Maybe, we’re both tapping into a deeper reality and both feeling more alive.

Mondo Zen Chanting

I am this light, pure selfless awareness.
I rely upon selfless awareness.
I do not rely upon concepts of self and other that
I do not depend upon beliefs, sensations, and
emotions, which arise and fall away.
Meditative awareness, clear intention, acting
wisely, compassionately and skillfully are this
I rely upon this only!
I rely upon this ceaselessly!

I do not rely upon concepts of self and other.

I do not depend upon beliefs, sensations, and emotions.

Stay in connection, stay in reality, stay in meditative awareness. Pure, selfless awareness.

This is a continuous challenge for me. How to engage and go into those unfamiliar and scary places with others?

I never saw it done well as a child so I have no model for it. I’m figuring it out deeper and deeper now.

I believe the dharma house project failed eventually mostly because we didn’t engage those conflicts well.

Most of my romantic relationships or lack thereof are fraught with this fear and insecurity of the unknown.

This inability to hold my confidence and trust in deep surrender of the unknown is why I am so drawn to Zen’s direct action, to the relational practice of surrendered leadership of circling, and other experiments like RV traveling, pickup, and improv,

I remember in college one of our friends was gradually becoming an alcoholic. He would drink by himself and often drink to the point of complete drunkenness. But, who would intervene and take responsibility for confronting him? I never did.

Say a hypothetical friend named Bob is marrying a partner named Carla. Bob’s friends don’t understand the relationship. Bob’s friends have expressed this concern to each other. Will any of Bob’s friends ever tell Bob? I did.

How deep is your friendship? Are you a friend only when times are good?

Aristotle identifies three forms of friendship or relationship. A relationship based on pleasure, utility, and virtue.

A friendship based on virtue, on recognizing the goodness in each other and holding each other to that higher standard. Being frank and honest with each other where we see flaws. A virtuous relationship built on such trust that you can fight each other on views and then feel closer to each other. This is worth more than any countless shallow relationships based on pleasure or utility.