Relative bodhicitta is how we learn to love each other and ourselves, according to Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

The basic principle of ultimate bodhicitta is to rest in the fundamental state of consciousness before it is divided into I and other.

Relative bodhicitta is related to how we start to learn to love each other and ourselves. When we decide to love somebody, we usually expect that person to fulfill our desires and conform to our own idea of what we want that person to be. If our expectations can be fulfilled, we can fall in love.  We want the other person to love us. But, love should not ask for anything in return, ever. We should not need the actions of others to validate the love we feel for them. If we feel unloved, we should turn inwards. This is not to say you should ever be a doormat for anyone.

You must both dance without stepping on each other’s toes.

Unfortunately, we are not conditioned to think that love is based on the idea of communication, openness, and being without expectations, without “ownership”. We are conditioned to believe that love is possessing someone, having them as our own- their love is ours, and they must make us feel loved, wanted, needed. We need someone else to stroke our ego.

So how do you come to understand true love? How do you truly love someone the next time around?

  • Love yourself and do not seek validation.
  • In the Bodhicitta and wakeful gentleness, you are urged to use your mother (or anyone you feel unconditional love for, even your children) as your guide. Think about how you feel warm and cozy toward your mother. Do you appreciate her way of sacrificing her own comfort for you? Taking care of you when you were sick? Feeding you and changing your diapers while being so sleep deprived when you were a baby? Do you appreciate her unconditional love for you? Her kindness and sacrifices are the perfect examples of making others more important than yourself (although they are not, but to feel the true nature of love, we must feel this way)

The ultimate principle of the awakened heart is based on developing divine generosity.

This is a state of awareness where you are no longer subject to thinking for yourself or your benefit. Traditionally, there are three types of generosity.

  • The first one is ordinary generosity, giving material goods or services to others. This is easy enough to accomplish during a divorce. We hear what our spouse wants or needs from us, and we really listen. We can do this part; this part is easy.
  •  The second one is the gift of fearlessness. You reassure your spouse (and children) and teach them that they do not have to feel completely freaked out about their situation – your situation – the divorce situation. There is a way for them to sustain their new, transformed lives.

How can I do this? How can I help my spouse feel fearless when I myself am scared shitless? How can I do this when I am unsure if they are even scared?

Trust me, they are scared, just like you. Divorce is the unknown. Reassure your spouse and reassure your children. Be generous with the gift of comforting and reassurance that there is nothing to fear.

  • The third type of generosity is the gift of the dharma. You show others that there is a journey that consists of self-discipline, meditation, and knowledge of the true meaning of life. Your generosity can open up their minds. In that way, their closed-mindedness and small thinking can be turned into a larger, greater vision of themselves and their lives.

 Well, you really can’t force your ex-spouse to meditate, now can you? But, you can practice what you preach. You can give through your own actions and your understandings. You can show your family how great if feels to have self-discipline and to be empty of anger and resentment. By example, you can give away dharma.

I have heard that we cannot receive in one hand if the other is closed in a fist.

The more we give, the more we gain—although what we might gain should not be our reason for giving. Rather, the more we give, the more we are inspired to continue giving, and the gaining process happens naturally.  We cannot force it or expect it. All that you need to understand is that it will happen.

Be generous, whether it be with compassion or material things.

Remember, the fragrance always lingers on the hand that gives the rose away.

When we start to give, we begin to have a feeling of a meaningful existence within ourselves.

Eventually, we even try to feel better toward our “enemies”, toward people we don’t like – our “sacred friends”. After much practice, we can extend that sense of gentleness, softness, and gratitude even to those who challenge us the most.

Love begins with you.