Reading Loving Kindness by Sharon Salzberg in which she tells the story of a ferocious emperor in Northern India who, surveying the carnage after a greedy battle, spied a monk, quiet and serene, carrying a begging bowl. The monk told him about Buddha’s teachings, converted him, leading to the spread of Buddhism across the world. The power of one man’s witness to loving kindness. Ties in with stats showing ythat in a city where people meditate the crime rate goes down.
I wish to dwell in loving kindness. It is the only place I want to be and it’s peace is so much deeper and more enduring than negative, hurried emotions. I am deeply pacifist and this tale is witness to the power of one person’s grace to affect so much. It is the only thing to aim for – whether I can tread a little of the path, I do not know, but I must try.
Saturday, 15 October 2011
Sharon Salzberg: advocating the practice of Metta – loving kindness meditation. That loving kindness to others has to be based on loving kindness to oneself. She points out that spirituality based on self-hatred can never sustain itself. That when based on self-hatred, generosity becomes martyrdom, morality repression. Without the foundation of loving oneself becomes a loss of boundaries and codependency. With these sentences, she puts her fingers on all hesitations I have had, all I have seen go wrong with love.
One saintly woman I knew well let her family walk all over her. She put herself last and did this with great religious depth – and she would wake in the night clawing herself in self-hatred.
I am choosing my phrases for Metta. I have already been using using “may I be happy, may I be blessed”. And over the last few weeks, they have come true. I feel increasingly at peace, connected and filled with loving kindness to others, yet without feeling depleted as in the past. This joy far outweighs my pain, so I am able to more easily see the richness even in my more limited life, than the previously closing doors. Now I am adding, “May I be healthy, may I be fear-less”. That is free from fear, not fearless in the intrepid sense, but free of the fear I have had from a child that the future may hold bad things.