In this timely dharma talk, Jack discusses how the combination of compassion and equanimity gives rise to a peaceful heart.
In this online dharma talk aimed at creating sangha during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Jack explores the causes and conditions for cultivating and maintaining a peaceful heart during trying times. Illuminating the topics of compassion, equanimity, and impermanence, Jack shares how we can use mindfulness and loving awareness to help birth a better world. For help during these trying times, Jack has compiled an ongoing catalogue of anti-racism resources, as well as a list of pandemic resources on his website JackKornfield.com
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Equanimity & Impermanence
Beginning the online dharma talk by sharing an ancient Pali chant, Jack reflects on the mantra’s deep meaning and resonance. All things are impermanent, they rise and they pass away. Those who are at peace with this truth find true happiness. This arising and passing away is the wondrous mystery of human incarnation. True happiness is cultivated through not shying away from this reality, but accepting it as truth.
“The practice and understanding of equanimity is not to avoid conflict or avoid change, rather it is finding a balance in the midst of it” – Jack Kornfield
For a mindful exploration of the arising and passing away of phenomena, tune into Ep. 91 of the Insight Hour
Peace in the Mystery (13:46)
What is the peaceful heart? What keeps us from it? The near-enemy, the quality that masquerades as equanimity, is indifference. Indifference is a not-caring, it’s a withdrawal. It’s based on fear, it’s a pulling away from the world. True equanimity is being at peace in the midst of the mystery, becoming the witness to it, the one who knows, the loving awareness which is who you really are. You are consciousness that was born into this body, and you get to witness the play of human incarnation.
“All these things that arise that seem so substantial, dissolve. They’re replaced by the next breath, the next emotion, the next circumstance, or the next sunrise or sunset. Nothing is substantial in itself, and who we are is the consciousness that witnesses this play of life.” – Jack Kornfield
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The Labor of Compassion (21:20)
Sharing quotes and personal stories, Jack expounds on the notion from his friend and fellow teacher, Valarie Kaur, that as a human species, we are in a birthing process. The darkness we are seeing now is not that of a tomb, but that of a womb, and we are giving birth to a new, more humane, loving, compassionate society.
“Those who carry the spirit are beacons who remind people that suffering is not the end of the story, that in fact we’ve lived through pandemics and earthquakes and typhoons, and world wars and battles; and something in us knows how to be reborn, how to survive the difficulties. It’s in your DNA.” – Jack Kornfield