Sr Thoai Nghiem gives an a la carte Dharma talk where she solicits topics to speak on from the public. She was requested to talk about the current day environmental degradation, how to love without attachment, how to practice love with parents in the face of harsh words, how to be mindful in the face of injustice or discrimination and how to transform our inner critic into kind inner and outer speech.
Our minds have a tendency to focus on the negative elements in and around us. Firstly, we have to cultivate being aware of the positive elements that are around us. We should not just focus our attention on what is wrong as it can water seeds of fear in us. We also need to selectively encourage the positive seeds to grow. We need to examine our definitions of happiness, what kind of conditions do we put on being happy? Do we put people and what is happening in our lives into boxes instead of seeing what is actually coming in?
Mindfulness allows us to be aware of the state of the environment and meditation allows us to know and protect ourselves. We have to protect ourselves with our wholesome seeds and live and work in such a way where we do not give in to depression or anger. We can be a source of inspiration to ourselves and others instead.
Love often leads to a desire to possess which leads to attachment and suffering. Strong emotions can destroy years of good relationship. True love includes loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness, and gives the other their freedom. To love is also to understand. We cannot change others but we can understand them and transform ourselves. Sr Thoai Nghiem illustrates these points with several real life examples.