Friday, January 8, 2010

Loving Kindness 2006

I am taking an online course in the practice of Loving Kindness. In a nutshell the practice of Loving Kindness reminds us that the most important thing in life is to tame our mind, because happiness and suffering depend entirely on ones mind. When we understand that our happiness and suffering is connected with the happiness and suffering of others, then the importance of working on our thoughts becomes essential.

Understanding that we as humans are interconnected to every human on the face of the earth is a big step. It is much like the ripple effect in that what I do now affects my sister, which affects her husband, which affects his secretary and so on. To take responsibility for not hurting others and to do no harm is a process that starts with your self. We cannot avoid harming others while we continue to harm ourselves. For example the Buddha once said, "You can search the whole world for someone more worthy of your love than yourself, and you will not find anyone...Whoever loves himself will never harm another."

If we screw up in taking care of and loving ourselves personally and then are asked to help others, that lack of attention to ourselves causes us to harm others and ourselves. Sacrificing yourself to help another is not necessarily a good thing. You cannot give away what you dont have. When you sacrifice yourself to help another, you leave a void. We try to reward ourselves for our sacrifice to fill the void. We can stuff that void with food, alcohol, drugs, or emotions. You have to love yourself and respect yourself first before you can love and respect another. So before you can help another you must help yourself first.

If self-esteem seems to be getting in the way of forgiving yourself, you might want to remember a time when you did something kind or selfless for someone else. When you remember a time where you acted on your God spark it can help you remember your goodness.People sometimes feel that their father and mother did not love them.

The trouble with us is that we live in the past, and waste too much of the present thinking about past suffering. Many of us have suffered, and truly not have had a happy childhood, but that doesn't mean that we should let it mess up the rest of our lives. If your parents did not love you, perhaps it wasnt their fault; maybe they didnt know how to love you, because their parents didnt know how to love them.You shouldnt ever think that your parents didnt love you. They might have loved you the best they knew how and have gone through horrible pain because they didnt know how to share their love to you. Once you can accept this as a possibility, you can develop feelings of love and compassion for your parents.

This does not mean you have to like or condone their actions. Even if your parents didnt love you, that shouldnt make you feel bad, because the love, wisdom and compassion of your god source and universe is infinite, and the love of the universe include all of us in their love, without exception. Simply by invoking the Christ, God, Buddhas, Creator, or Goddess our hearts are filled with love, and we can then share that love with our parents, and heal the relationship that hurt us.

I have included an example of a loving kindness prayer at the end of the blog.This week we had to focus on loving a difficult person and send them loving kindness. During mediations I am good at understanding that I am no different from the person I have feelings of dislike. I can feel that we are indeed part of the whole. I can see suffering in all people, and have no problem with hatred or dislike.

My problem is in the real time interactions when I am upset. When my ex-husband and I argue I get so upset and hurt, and then I lash out verbally. When I do the mediation I can love him or anyone else for that matter with all my heart. I am doing my best to integrate the meditations in my real time life. I focused on my ex-husband this month. Over the last month my ex-husband and I have gotten along better than we ever have, even when we were married. I have realized through this practice that my own preconceived expectations of others have caused me the most pain.

I think that as humans we naturally assume others come from the same vantage point as we do. It is difficult to remember that the only person who feels and thinks the way I do is I. I find it easier to move forward to forgive and not feel resentment when I remember the other person I am troubled with is as hurt or as upset as I am. I have also found such joy in not having to be right or play a victim to my emotions or someone elses emotions.

I used to take other peoples words personally and found I was wounded easily. For the first time in my life it is becoming so much easier not to react to something I perceive as hurtful. I have found myself expressing my feelings with others and myself for the first time honestly. This is a colossal step for me.

I have to laugh when I found that the person I needed to send loving kindness to the most was myself, I guess I am the most difficult person I know. For me to really feel dislike of someone, I have to visualize a pedophile. This is truly difficult for me. I realize that the person harms another because they too suffer, but I must admit it is terribly difficult to send loving kindness to the person. I suppose they are in need more so than anyone is, but nonetheless it is extremely difficult. It is hard for me to see this from a different angle. I am working on it. Ill let you know if I ever get there.

Here is an example of a loving kindness prayer:

I love myself.
May I be free from anger.
May I be free from sadness.
May I be free from pain.
May I be free from difficulties.
May I be free from all suffering.
May I be healthy.
May my body be healthy and strong.
May I be filled with loving-kindness.
May I be happy.
May I be really happy.
May I be at peace.
I send love now to all the people I don't know everywhere on this earth.
May all beings on the planet be free from suffering.
May they be free from pain, grief, and despair.
May they be happy, truly happy.
May they be at peace.
May all beings in the universe be free from suffering.
May all beings in all universes, everywhere, be free from suffering.
May they be well and happy.
May they be at peace.
May all beings of all kinds, in all directions be happy and at peace.
Above and below, near and far, high and low.
All types of beings. Human and non-humans.
Seen and unseen.
All the animals and birds, and fishes.
All beings and creatures, with no exceptions.
May they all be happy.
May they be free.
I open my heart and accept loving-kindness of every being and creature in return.
I let that love into my heart.
And I share the benefits of this meditation with every one.
May all beings be well and happy.
May all beings be well and happy.
May all beings be well and happy.
May there be peace.
May there be peace.
May there be peace.

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