by Beth Hemmila
I didn't know.
I didn't know I could be crushed by so much love.
Where a hungry weight folds
and shovels everything into a compact space,
forcing collapse from within.
I implode into a darkness that weeps.
A thundering chasm cracks open,
sounding a relentless strain that bites and prickles my skin.
Ancient stars erupt from the gash in my chest,
grappling pass blood, bones, and flesh,
Leaving me empty and spent.
Ready for more.
Loving kindness and Tonglen meditation can open you up to feel the immensity and expansiveness of love for all of humanity. Perhaps we are afraid to feel the enormity of this love because the body sensations that accompany it could seem frightening. One day while engaging in Tonglen meditation I felt so physically and emotionally overwhelmed I tried to put the experience into words and what resulted was this poem.
What does it feel like to love everyone all at once?
Ten years ago I would have emotionally shut down and run from these body sensations and feelings because my mind associated it with suffering and a need to escape. And it can feel challenging, but I realized that by doing hot yoga and working with the extreme conditions of the room as well as engaging in long periods of meditation, I have a higher tolerance for staying with uncomfortable physical and emotional sensations.
Like a tree enduring the seasons, I'm more apt to stand firm and not waver. By increasing your tolerance to stay put under difficult circumstances while remaining empty and open through practices such as meditation and yoga, you will prepare yourself for feeling the intensity of love's bone crushing weight.