Lovingkindness

I am starting to discover the power of meditating on lovingkindness as a practice. A realization occurred to me that I can only get love if I give love. That seems like a pretty simple and plain idea, somewhat common sense, but is not too common in practice. If I want to have a rich social life, my mindset has to be one of complete lovingkindness to all. Otherwise, my default mindset is insecurity and guardedness. What tends to happen is that I know what I want, but avoid the risk that would bring that very thing to me. The emotional pain tends to sabotage my endeavors, so that I come across as weak and needy.

The problem is that I am living under the illusion of lack. My emotional conditioning suggests that I need to get someone to give me the love and respect that would elevate my sense of self and well-being. Yet a simple shift in thinking can utterly change that perspective. While walking along a path, I focused on everyone with total lovingkindness. What I mean by that is I invoked a sense of love towards each person I passed. This sense then overflowed in me, and I felt truly happy and fulfilled. There was no longer the mindset of suspicion; just the deep sense of love and respect for all. This is no easy task to maintain, and I have floundered ever since. Yet being aware of my thoughts is the first step to changing them.

One thing that is common for guys is to gaze lustily at attractive women. I realized today that this puts you in a position of taking without giving. My internal moral compass seemed to suggest that this wasn’t the best place to be in, and so later I corrected my error by pouring out lovingkindness towards the object of my gaze. Even in various modes of dress and undress, this has the power to totally change the way you look at anyone.

This practice is most difficult in close relationships, where there is emotional history. And where there are preexisting habits of emotional reaction, such as in traffic, it can seem to be an impossibility. But that’s the whole point, this is training the mind to a far more rewarding way of being in the world.

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