Sarah’s Blog

The Spirit of Loving Kindness

Water DropContinuing with the spirit of loving kindness… Our seemingly separate existence is not as autonomous as it seems. We are not only inextricably interconnected with all others, but our innermost nature, however hidden it may be in some, is of the same essence as everyone else. So just as we wish to be genuinely happy, so does everyone else. Treating others with respect as we would wish to be regarded is what Martin Buber calls the I-Thou relationship rather then the I-It that is so common among us. This reorientation toward seeing oneself in another encourages us to treat others like a healthy family, honoring and caring for each other.

Even when we do not appreciate someone’s behavior, still, learning to remember that they too are of the very fabric of love, however unskillful or delusional our experience of them may be. This inner perspective can initiate more skillful response, even when it needs to be wrathful and direct. In this way, we can orient our minds when we are going through our day to wish that others find true happiness as well.

As you walk by and interact with people today, silently wish them each true well-being, sending the message from your heart to theirs, May you feel safe, may you feel connected, may you be happy.

Loving Kindness Meditation

Today I invite you to practice a loving kindness meditation I learned from Alan Wallace, which allows you to vision your most meaningful life. There are 7 aspects. Simply read the step, practice what is suggested, pause, and then open your eyes and read the next step… This practice can be done often, and I suggest every other Monday as you begin a new week of life…

Flower display in ThailandI hope you find it enjoyable!

  1. Set your motivation to practice this now for your own and others benefit, as the value of aligning your heart and mind with loving kindness will spread naturally to others…
  2. Relax into your body either laying down, or sitting, with the eyes closed. Relax deeply into each out breath and let go of all your concerns. Allow your mind to become fresh in this moment. Hear your out breath like a gentle flowing river.
  3. Now, in the space of your heart, ask yourself, what are my heartfelt aspirations for this life? What would make me truly happy? How do I see this life unfolding in which I am truly thriving, both with worldly happiness, and inner happiness? What would it be like to realize this? Reflect and see what comes to mind. Allow yourself to be indulgent, flamboyant, and to have an adventure, wishing this for yourself, as your best friend. Allow yourself to be scandalously optimistic. Becoming a dream weaver of your own life.
    Then consider that the deepest dimension of your being is the root of your yearning for happiness, and imagine this pure dimension symbolically as an orb of white light at your heart, cascading throughout your whole body, and saturating your mind with each out breath.
    Stay a while here with these images, and begin to see them transpiring with each out breath, as you say to yourself, “May I be truly happy”. Breath by breath, imagine the fulfillment of your own dreams and aspirations blossoming, here and now.
  4. As we are inextricably dependent on many others to live our innermost dreams, what would you love to receive from others and from your environment to realize your heart’s desire?
    With each in breath, in the spirit of loving kindness, say to yourself, “may I receive all I truly need, day to day, moment to moment”, and imagine all that you would love to receive, coming into you in the form of white light on each in breath, filling your heart and your entire body. Imagine here and now receiving all that you truly need. Imagine reality reaching up to meet you.
  5. We need not only blessings and assistance, but also inner transformation. Ask yourself, in the spirit of loving kindness, what qualities of mind and behaviors would I love to be free of? What mental habits that impede my deeper aspirations and block me from the realization of true happiness would I love to discard? Imagine these leaving you with each out breath while saying to yourself, “may it be so”.
    What inner resources would you love to cultivate in order to bring about your deepest happiness. What qualities would you love to be invested with? With each in breath, envision your own maturation, your own growth toward the realization of your dreams, saying to yourself again, “may it be so”. See yourself reshaping your inner world with these qualities strengthened and accessible within you.
    With each breath imagine this transformation taking place within you here and now.
  6. Finally, in the same spirit of loving kindness, in order to inject your life with as much meaning as possible, what kind of mark would you like to make on the world? What is the greatest good you can imagine bringing to the world so that it is a better place because you have been here, and at the end of your life, you look back with a deep sense of satisfaction, knowing this was a life well lived.
    With each out breath imagine offering all the things you would like to offer, drawing on your unique background, your talents, your interests, your training, your vision. Imagine offering this here and now.
    Imagine those around you receiving your offerings with joy and delight.
  7. Now release all appearances, and let your awareness rest in utter simplicity and stillness, the place from which all these aspirations arise…

What’s Happening Right Now…

Mural of Ganesha, AustraliaOur moment-to-moment reality is comprised of two parts: what is happening and what we bring to what is happening. Always! There is no one dimensional reality of just what is happening ‘out there’. Dharma practice encourages creativity about how we meet the waves of existence, allowing us to sharpen our powers of clear perception.

This is cultivated daily not from a willful attitude of striving for perfection, but from the depths of love… the love of living from deeper truths and the possibility of experiencing a profoundly open heart and mind.

This is not ‘wishful’ thinking but an ancient and current possibility, as many like us have found this inner freedom. There are two essential ingredients. We have to hear these teachings, and we have to commit to practice them.

Today, the practice is one of inquiry. Simply ask yourself many times over and over, ‘how am I relating to what’s happening right now? Where do I locate my sense of me-ness in this body right now?’ And with the mind’s eye – look and feel, with the mind’s ear (so to speak) – listen inwardly. Pause and soften. Breathe.

Maitri, or Loving-Kindness

The word in Sanskrit for that quality of love that permeates our natural being is Maitri, translated as loving-kindness.

    Water Drop

  • Make the aspiration today to bring Maitri more into the foreground in body, speech and mind.
  • Take loving care of yourself by pausing to breathe consciously right now, wherever you are, in a relaxed way, for 5 minutes.
  • As you move through your day, let go of any rushing in your activities, eat especially healthy, doing some yoga or taking a walk, in general being relaxed and self loving all day.
  • In speech, emphasize words today that are kind and beneficial, and fill your mind over and over with gratitude for this precious, mysterious life!
  • Enjoy a day filled with loving kindness toward yourself.

At the end of the day, laying in bed, reflect on the simple moments today where you felt soft and receptive, remembering how you experienced yourself, committing to be your own best friend and protector tomorrow, and the following days as well.

Summer Solistice

Sun Over WaterHappy Solstice to each of you. Sol in Latin means sun and sistere means to stand still, so literally meaning sun standing as the seasonal movement of the sun’s path comes to a stop before reversing directions, the longest day of the year!

Like a full moon, the sun is pregnant with its fullness, a great day for breathing into your intentionality and beginning to give birth to your intrinsic potential! May you pause and stand still with the sun today, fully inhabiting all that has grown to fruition with the wonderment of all that has yet to be…