Sunday, December 4, 2011

Extreme Loving Kindness Practice

There is a reason why loving kindness of one's enemies is left for last by all who teach loving kindness. It is easy to love dear ones, or the sick, or the old, or the dying, or the generic all encompassing 'all beings'. It is another matter to practice loving kindness towards a person who has done you wrong, one for whom feelings of anger and spite are still brewing within the heart. 

Lately my mind has been populated with thoughts about one who has hurt me and many others. I have watched the many movies in my mind about him, and things he has done, and the wrong acts I imagine him perpetuating still. I do not like those movies. I want to change the channel, and I realize that besides sitting and waiting for the thoughts to dissolve under the laser beam of mindfulness, I ought to make use of another more active practice. I call it extreme loving kindness practice. A blend of good intentions, mindfulness, concentration, and investigation. 

Sitting, I give the mind a chance to watch the mind unleashed, and its effects on my whole being. I get to see anger, outrage, and fantasies of revenge do their work. Breath squished, stomach knotting, throat and neck tensing, temperature rising . . . and an overall unpleasantness. All brought upon myself. This does not make sense, and I love myself too much to keep it going. Mind gets tired of the same old, bad story. From there, it becomes easy to entertain a new train of thoughts. "May you be at peace, may you be at ease. May you be well, may you be happy." I see my 'friend' and I feel great compassion for his unconsciousness, and I sincerely wish him to become free from his own private hell. Meanwhile, body (my own) starts relaxing, and the mind also. And the energy previously tied up in anger gets freed up for all the good work I need to do. 

Extreme loving kindness, such a practical and beautiful practice. 

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