Bathe everything with your lovingkindness

We did a variation of this sweet Ajahn Brahm lovingkindness meditation tonight at Just Sit!

Oh, boy! I just love the build up. Brilliant, natural progression:

In order to generate a spontaneous feeling of love and caring, first imagine an easy-to-love being (we used a helpless baby bird). Then gradually, in ever-widening circles, spread that feeling of tenderness to other imagined beings, until eventually you have imagined including all sentient beings. Finally, in a surprise twist ending, give that lovingkindness even to that person who can be the most challenging of all to love and accept: your self.

Go, find yourself a quiet corner, take 36 mins and wash your heart.

water heart

(via ZenFriend)

May all beings be happy

April 2018 – Hi folks, I’ve temporarily made this post stick at the top of the blog posts so that students in the current Lovingkindness meditation series can easily find it. If you are currently taking the course in Grimsby and Port Colborne, and are active on Facebook, you can also find resources in our student group, “The Hut” — simply click through, there should be a ‘join’ or ‘ask to join’ button, and I’ll add you to the group.

Ambika Cooper’s beautiful melody has the power to embed the lovingkindness (metta) verses in your heart. It’s in just the right key for me to sing along and I am loving that it’s become an earworm, with the prayerful verses surfacing in the spaces of my day.

Plus, Sharon Salzberg joins in this kirtan-style recording, bringing it to a beautiful close with her spoken word version of the verses.

Digital download, regularly $1.99, is currently available free: vanarasmusic.com

Sample the melody:

Metta-Chant-FINAL

METTA CHANT

May I be happy and peaceful
May I be healthy and strong
May I be safe and protected
May I live with ease

May you be happy and peaceful
May you be healthy and strong
May you be safe and protected
May you live with ease

May we be happy and peaceful
May we be healthy and strong
May we be safe and protected
May we live with ease

May all be happy and peaceful
May all be healthy and strong
May all be safe and protected
May all live with ease

(via Facebook)

Hello body! I’m home!

Thich Nhat Hanh is answering questions from his 1 million+ fans on Facebook. (You can like and receive updates from his FB page here.)

The first question he answered was, “How do I love myself?” Beautifully, he begins with, “Come back into your body and breathe.” Playfully he says, “Hello body! I’m home!”

The further instructions are basically, sit and be with your body, breathe mindfully, watch mindfully. Being with yourself mindfully IS loving yourself.

He goes on to say that when you understand your own suffering — when you can sit patiently, mindfully with yourself — then you will begin to understand the suffering of others. You will understand the suffering of your father, your mother, your ancestors. Implicit in this? You will stop blaming others for your suffering and see that they too suffer. No one is exempt.

Compassion arises naturally from this simple insight. Enjoy!

 

Happy frolicking cows!

Yesterday I had a series of conversations with former strangers (by which I mean, once we’d chatted for a while they transformed into new friends). Inexplicably, and not brought up by me, the topic of vegetarian vs. meat eating kept surfacing. It surprised me because I had watched this video yesterday morning and couldn’t stop thinking about it all day long. It’s just delightful. A herd of cows are released into a field instead of being taken to the slaughterhouse. They jump and dance with joy. So sweet.

I’ve been vegetarian on and off in my life, always for reasons of compassion for other living beings. Quite simply, I believe it is terrible what human beings do to themselves and other animals in this world. Even still, these days I choose to eat a lazy version of ‘paleo’ because my body functions better this way. (Grains, in particular, are a terrible storm of inflammation for me.) And also, I eat meat because, when I reason it out, suffering is happening, it’s the very nature of things. Unavoidable. Samsara. That which is born, dies. I kill when I brush my teeth. I can’t drive down a summer road without killing thousands of insects, crushed against the windsheild. It breaks my heart, truly.

I bought chicken breasts again from that super-friendly guy at the market this morning. And I still can’t stop thinking about these lovely, happy frolicking cows. It makes me wonder about all the things I can and can’t control. And leads me to ask, how can I be more compassionate today, with myself and with others?