Listening to the call of your heart

“With your way of being, you inspire motivation that is no longer about attaining individual liberation, although it includes that; it is not just about helping all beings to be free, although it includes that as well; it is motivation to regard and be with everything we experience right now – and the whole world – with love and courage, embrace and open to luminous ground within and all around us.” –from Roxana to her teacher Paul Baranowski

Verse 10 from Reflections on Silver River:

Every being has cared for you as your mother.
If they all suffer for time without end, how can you be happy?
To free beings without limit,
Give rise to awakening mind – this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

* * *

I remember clearly the first time I gave rise to awakening mind and experienced the joyous and heartbreaking call of my heart to follow the path of a Bodhisattva. I was reading a copy of Shambhala Sun magazine and came across a painting of the Bodhisattva Shantideva (picture above). My own teacher Paul came to mind instantly, his fearlessness and precision, gentle heart, clear focus and dedication to anything he experiences, warm compassion for himself and all beings embodying the Bodhisattva vow in everything he does. The awe to his way of being was so compelling that it opened the door to my own heart.

I suddenly experienced all those qualities I saw in him inside myself and much more – love beyond words and boundless joy.  I realized I could never be alone. My heart was kindly, patiently and unconditionally there for me and calling to me every moment. It was so powerful that I could have died right in that moment and feel gratitude and happiness for this life. It is still hard to put in words how grateful I am to him. The only way I can repay it is to diligently and wholeheartedly practice being a bodhisattva and connect to awakening mind, give freely to all beings gifts that can never be taken away, as he gave to me.

Since that day, the bodhisattva vow became more than just an aspiration but a way of life with no other choice than to activate the Bodhicitta quality inside and serve the situation that arises. Because of  that attitude, I am not able to move in a direction that adds to my own and other’s suffering. At times I feel there is great resistance to follow this path, but when I look with the eyes of my heart, I see there is no other way to go. There are times, for example, where agreeing with a friend, when I actually disagree, would be so much easier and would feel like a sense of connection but to follow my heart I have to find a way to constructively disagree in order to prevent more difficulties for everyone down the road.

Being  committed to awakening is not about being nice or good to others in the conventional way, and most of the time I wouldn’t describe it as “fun”. It is the most heartbreaking experience I have encountered, yet full of aliveness, playfulness and spaciousness and I would not change it for anything else in the world.

Looking forward to listen to our heart call together,

Roxana and Paul

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