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Loving Kindness as a Practice

Loving kindness is the cultivation of benevolence toward all living beings, love without clinging, and a strong wish for the happiness of others. It is the kind of love that often bubbles up freely in the heart of a mother for her child. It is a love that is independent of expecting or needing anything in return.

Loving kindness is unique from preferential love, which is attached love, in that it is an all-embracing unconditional love.

It is apparent that many people in our world are troubled by disturbing emotional states and yet do very little to try to evolve out of those. By practicing loving kindness both in meditation and in action, we can “sweeten” the “sour” mind. Hatred cannot co-exist with loving kindness. Loving kindness can lead to the feeling of equanimity toward all sentient beings and is therefore transformative. It can heal the troubled mind to free it from negative thought patterns. As the practice develops further it naturally overflows into compassion as one begins to experience all beings with loving acceptance and empathy.

When one meditates on loving kindness, they often start with developing loving acceptance of oneself. Loving kindness toward others must begin with over-coming feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. The practice of loving kindness naturally heals feelings of negativity toward self and others. In the Buddhist meditation of loving kindness- Metta Bhavana, after focusing loving kindness on oneself, the focus is then turned to a beloved person like a spiritual teacher, then to a dearly beloved like a family member, then a neutral person like a stranger, then finally toward a hostile person- someone you are having difficulty with.

Practicing loving kindness toward someone who has harmed you or others can be very challenging and requires one to see the humanness and the divine in that person, to recognize that they too strive for happiness and are suffering due to their emotional and mental states of being. Trace back when their early childhood patterns were programmed and see that they are simply lost and confused – lashing out in their own pain. Loving kindness does not need to condone violence or hatred, but it can transform those feelings within our own hearts and minds toward light and love.

Imagine a world where 1 out of every 1000 people intentionally and consistently practiced loving kindness by dissolving barriers between themselves and others, by loving their enemies, by meditating on the happiness and wellness of all sentient beings. Imagine how that light would spread. Not only would these people be infinitely transformed by this practice but so would everyone around them. Imagine if every child was taught loving kindness- violence could be eliminated from this world in 7 generations.

If there is one common teaching between our sacred wisdom teachers, it is kindness toward others.

Can loving kindness lead to positive personal transformation? Absolutely. Can it lead to positive world transformation? I believe so.

I hope you enjoy this eBulletin on Loving Kindness as much as I have,

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