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Excerpted from If the Buddha Dated by Charlotte Kasl. Copyright 1999 by Charlotte Kasl. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 

"We begin our journey always remembering that there is a circular relationship between our ability to know and love another and our ability to know and love ourselves."

  Charlotte Kasl, If the Buddha Dated, Part 3

If we dated with a Buddhist consciousness there would be no separate "rules" for men and women, because seekers on the path are not distinguished by gender. That doesn't mean there aren't male/female differences, it means that instead of automatically categorizing people, we ask again and again, "Who are you?" We get to know people as individuals without imposing stereotypes on them. In chapter 9, we'll further discuss the idea of spiritual equality.

Buddhism is about self-knowledge, a fearless exploration of all we are, so we can be friends with ourselves. Dating with a Buddhist consciousness means a willingness to confront anything inside that kindles fear or anxiety. When we start wanting to run away, be deceptive, tell lies, or put on a mask, we need to walk right into our fears, sit down, and talk to them until they become our friends. This doesn't mean we have a goal of getting rid of fear; rather, we accept it as part of our unfolding journey.

We begin our journey always remembering that there is a circular relationship between our ability to know and love another and our ability to know and love ourselves. I hasten to add that loving oneself doesn't mean that we are perfect, fixed, all together, or any of those other common phrases. It means we are fully alive to our humanness -- accepting, compassionate, amused.

Ultimately, as we become friends with ourselves and give up demanding that the universe provide us with a lover, we become truly open to meeting a special person with whom to share this journey of awakening.

Suppose you scrub your ethical skin until it shines but inside there is no music, then what?

Mohammed's son pores over words, and points out this and that, but if his chest is not soaked dark with love, then what?

The Yogi comes along in his famous orange, but if inside he is colorless, then what?

- Kabir, The Kabir Book

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