5 Ways to bring Loving Kindness back
Sending love and peace to you wherever you are.
Tonight I’m sharing my top 5 ways to bring loving kindness into, or back to, your daily life.
Let me start with a beautiful story, a perfect lesson about how loving kindness practice strengthens love. This is an excerpt from Jack Kornfield, and his book Wise Heart.
Whenever our goodness is seen, it is a blessing. Every culture and tradition understands the importance of seeing one another with love. An old Hasidic rabbi asked his pupils how they could tell when the night had ended and day begun, for daybreak is the time for certain holy prayers. “Is it,” proposed one student, “when you can see an animal in the distance and tell whether it is a sheep or a dog?” “No,” answered the rabbi. “Is it when you can clearly see the lines on your own palm?” “Is it when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell if it is a fig or a pear tree?” “No,” answered the rabbi each time. “Then what is it?” the pupils demanded. “It is when you can look on the face of any man or woman and see that they are your sister or brother. Until then it is still night.”
This story illustrates so perfectly the power of connecting with humankind, in the spirit of love.
When we separate, me versus you, my pain is worse than yours, your pain is worse than mine, we never feel the ground of our humanity. It becomes challenging to feel much love for ourself let alone others.
Here we go. The Top 5 List.
1. Stop separating and comparing yourself to others when you’re doing anything including taking care of your body, your work, your family, your creativity, and anything in your life. This is one of the most common buzzkills, and we all go there time to time. Your monkey mind contains images about how you “should” be, or, envy about how others are. Neither are helpful or loving. Just be with YOU, your practice, with loving kindness in your heart. Why? Because your life is only for you! That’s the key. This is your time, your life, your practice.
2. Meet yourself right where you are, in loving kindness. It really is all about the Now. Coming into your body, your breath, your space. Holding space in your being. BE in it. Being present is almost always very challenging. Knowing that gives you a chance to soften more. Then you can approach practice in whatever condition you’re in and let go of the struggle to want to be somewhere else. Give yourself extra love when you aren’t feeling good. This will eventually shift neural patterns and close the negativity gap.
3. Drop the story line and the big deal joy or big deal sorrow. Life doesn’t have to be about I’m so great, this is so great, wow wow wow! Or I’m such a mess, this will fix me, look at my terrible life, on and on. Take the middle path. This is where loving kindness lives. I’m here practicing right now and it doesn’t have to be good or bad. Drop the labels. Each breath is a fresh start. This breath, this moment, right here now. Much more pleasurable this way.
4. Keep it simple. The essence of practice is to witness your body, breathing and life right in the spirit of basic goodness. This will be a very refreshing approach. You don’t have to do anything or fix anything. What a joy to sit down in your life and move around in your body and breathe fresh air into your lungs. Such sweet relief. Let it be simple. Let there be ease. Let your exhale completely empty….
5. Humility rules. Yes, this one. Our ego gets so attached to the improvement theory. Our culture breeds it 24/7. Always wanting to move faster, get better, see progress, do it right. While those things aren’t always negative in the right context, let go of all that for now. It’s such a drag to feel like it’s never good enough. Such a joy to know that you might not be “that good,” and that’s the beauty of it. Neither is anybody else. Let it go and smile:)
I’ve been practicing this way of being especially in yoga/meditation/relationships/work for many moons. My practice has endured all sorts of phases and transitions. The top 5 list is a distillation of what I know to be true about practice. I’ve seen it play out through the lives of hundreds of students, classes and retreats over the years. I hope it serves your heart in a deep way:)
Thank-you for being here with me.