I want to let you know that I am offering a Valentine’s Day afternoon workshop at Seattle Insight Meditation Society’s new location – Saturday, February 14, 2 to 5 pm. It will include both teaching and meditation, with refreshments following.
This is my final teaching presentation in Seattle (well, taking anicca into account of course), as I am moving to Olympia this Spring and will be focusing my future classes and events only in the very South Sound (Tacoma, Olympia, and Cloud Mountain) – the trip on I5 North has become quite daunting! I will however continue to offer various correspondence course options via email; so if that’ something you are interested in, ask me about it.
Years ago it occurred to me that Valentine’s Day is a good holiday to celebrate the lovingkindness teachings and practice, so I re-named it Heart Chakra Day, and I do try to create a Lovingkindness meditation event each year, particularly when the holiday falls on a weekend.
So please feel welcomed and invited to attend. There is no pre-registration; just come! It’s offered by dana donation, and the flyer is attached. If you can pass it along to others who might be interested, I’d be grateful. See the SIMS website (seattleinsight.org) for location directions and information (carpooling is good – and there’s easy public transportation).
I also want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Seattle Insight Meditation Society for all their generous hosting of my classes and events over the years, and to Seattle Buddhist Recovery for their kind invitations to speak in Seattle in recent years. May both groups continue to flourish!
Whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, all these do not equal a sixteenth part of the liberation of mind by lovingkindness. The liberation of mind by lovingkindness surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant.
Some people understand compassion or selflessness as something that means forgetting oneself. That’s wrong. First you should have love for yourself. You have to take care and have affection for yourself. Then you can extend that to your friends; then to your enemies, then further until you include the entire world, all sentient beings.
—His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The practice of metta, uncovering the force of love that can uproot fear, anger, and guilt, begins with befriending ourselves. The foundation of metta practice is to know how to be our own friend. According to the Buddha, “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” How few of us embrace ourselves in this way! With metta practice we uncover the possibility of truly respecting ourselves. We discover, as Walt Whitman put it, “I am larger and better than I thought. I did not think I held so much goodness.”
—Sharon Salzberg (in Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness)
The Pali word for lovingkindness is metta. More closely translated, metta means both “gentle” – as in a gentle rain that falls indiscriminately upon everything – and “friendship.” Thus, metta refers to a steady, unconditional sense of connection that touches all beings without exception, including ourselves.