I attended Sharon Salzberg’s non-residential this past weekend and realized I completely forgot about the “all beings” Metta category. Tomorrow we will explore this category and complete our investigation into practicing with relationship – or to put it more succinctly “relationship practice”. I tried to analyze how I could have missed this. First I decided it was because we looked at friends/family separately and that could be the reason. Then I decided that we basically covered “all beings” individually in the previous categories and that could also be the reason. In any event, “all beings” is an important category because it allows us to connect to many more beings than living humans. We include animals, insects, birds, fish, beings seen and unseen and loved ones who have died.
One of the ultimate aspects of Metta is to send lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity in all directions such that it continues forevermore. We build up a body full of kindness and love whenever we practice with relationships rather than react to them. This love and kindness is not conditioned upon anything. It is an outgrowth of practice and stillness with whatever is present. As we accept humans with all their tenderness, challenges and solace, we become imbued with it’s radiance. We then given it away rather than keep it for ourselves.
How much of the kindness, tenderness, and love that comes your way do you keep? How much do you give away? What do you think would happen if you gave to another every act of kindness given to you? We’ll explore this further tomorrow.