Day 39 – The reason my garden is turning brown…
No wonder my house often falls down around me. I’ve missed out one of the cornerstones. I haven’t done Metta Bhavana before!
I’ve been working so hard on my mindfulness practice that I’ve ignored one of the most important practices in Buddhism – Loving Kindness Meditation.
I’m not feeling loving at the moment.
I’m not even feeling kind.
But – I have the intention deep inside of me to be loving and to be kind. I just can seem to practice them at this moment and I’ve no doubt that’s because I’ve been ignoring loving kindness meditation practice until today.
It’s not that I have meant to ignore or forget this important practice. It’s as if I simply didn’t think about the fact that in order for our inner loving kindness towards ourselves and others to grow we have to water it like the seed that grows into a beautiful flower.
So far my seed has been withering in the ground. However, I do believe it is still there and that it’s still willing to take the nourishment I’m willing to give it. This is the most important thing.
When I think about it I find it unbelievable that I thought if I just practiced mindfulness, and tried to cultivate compassion, that loving kindness would naturally follow. Rather naive of me, especially when my compassion can often be very hard to find.
Because the podcast today was simply a discussion about loving kindness I felt I needed to do more and so went ahead to Zencast 107 – Guided Metta Meditation. I decided that I needed to start watering my loving kindness right away.
I was pretty restless throughout this 30 minute meditation, but Gil noted that it is more important to be comfortable in metta meditation and that we should change positions if need be. I needed to change positions A LOT having done Karmic Kundalini Yoga last night in a Yoga Today video podcast with instructor Sarah Kline. Man, are my legs killing me! Thanks Sarah ;)
Having Gil talk me through the meditation meant I could focus more on experiencing the words rather than wonder what comes next. I’m put off by meditations that have written explanations online because I either have to do the meditation with my eyes open so I can read the next part, or I have to memorize parts as I go along. I guess that’s where a Sangha would provide the support needed to learn these meditations. This is probably why I haven’t practiced before, having had no one to guide me.
Having done the meditation I already feel the benefits. I feel more peaceful and open to love and kindness even though I am involved in a couple of conflicts with family members and co-workers at the moment.
When I practice mindfulness I find that I become a lot more accepting of the present moment and patient with life. Therefore, this practice of doing metta meditation is an important step on my journey. Getting it done everyday may be a challenge seeing that I have just mastered the art of doing mindfulness meditation for at least 10 minutes everyday. However, I believe that getting up 10 mins earlier in the morning to practice metta meditation will be worthwhile. I need to start seeing more of a progression in the impasse I seem to have developed with these ‘difficult’ people. Again, this is all an experiment so it remains to be seen what will occur with this ‘new found’ meditation practice.
At least I can rely on the fact that everything changes, therefore I cannot stay in gridlock with these people forever. Until that time I can practice more loving kindness towards myself and hope that the change I can create in myself will in turn create the change needed in my relationships.
As Mahatma Gandhi says – Be the change you want to see in the world.
Perspective for the day was pass forward by Jen who writes at My Smiling Heart. She received this video in A Peaceful Path newsletter she received from Karen Mead. It blew my mind and brought a tear to my eye… Enjoy!