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Looking with a loving gaze (Day 3)

Lotus, isolated on whiteFor today’s adventure in 100 Days of Lovingkindness I’m going to share a way of relating that I call “loving gaze.” This is borrowed from Jan Chozen Bays, who writes in How to Train a Wild Elephant of the practice of “Loving Eyes.”

In her book she says:

We know how to use loving eyes when we are falling in love, when we see a new baby or a cute animal. Why do we not use loving eyes more often?

So what we can do is to recall, or even just imagine, the experience of looking with loving eyes. You can recall (or imagine) looking at a beloved child, or a lover, or even a pet. I find that the sense of care, and appreciation, and non-judgement is very transferrable, so once you’ve evoked a loving gaze you can turn that sense of looking lovingly upon yourself. As you notice the body, your breathing, your thoughts, etc., you can look at them with loving eyes.

And once you’ve evoked that for yourself, you can now turn your loving gaze upon others: friends, people you don’t know, people you have difficulty with, animals, all beings…

This, I find, is a very quick way to help lovingkindness to emerge.

And when we do this, everything we experience seems to become gentler and softer. The world appears to be a lovelier, sometimes heartbreakingly beautiful, place. Even the ugly bits of life seem beautiful in their ugliness. And we start to realize that the world is our experience of the world, which is not separable from ourselves. And so when we change, the world we perceive changes too. The world of our experience becomes more loving, more tender.

There’s something Chozen says about this that always blows me away:

Seeing with loving eyes is not a one-way experience, nor is it just a visual experience. When we touch something with loving eyes, we bring a certain warmth from our side, but we may also be surprised to feel warmth radiating back to us. We begin to wonder, is everything in the world made of love? And have I been blocking that out? [Emphasis added]

Give it a try, both in your sitting practice and as you go about your daily life. You can start right now, as your eyes scan the words in front of you. Look with love. And then carry that loving gaze into your next activity.

[See the previous 100 Days post : See the next 100 Days of Lovingkindness post]

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About Bodhipaksa

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Bodhipaksa is a Buddhist practitioner and teacher, a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order, and a published author. He founded Wildmind in 2001. Bodhipaksa has published many guided meditation CDs and guided meditation MP3s.

He teaches at Aryaloka Buddhist Center in Newmarket, New Hampshire. You can follow Bodhipaksa on Twitter, join him on Facebook, or hang out with him on .

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Pingback from Taking kindness to heart | Wildmind Buddhist Meditation
Time: April 15, 2013, 1:23 pm

[...] [See the previous 100 Days of Lovingkindness post : See the next 100 Days of Lovingkindness post] [...]

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Pingback from Metta-blast to the past | Wildmind Buddhist Meditation
Time: April 15, 2013, 1:24 pm

[...] the previous 100 Days of Lovingkindness post] Pin [...]

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Pingback from Breathing with love | Wildmind Buddhist Meditation
Time: April 23, 2013, 12:01 am

[...] of each stage and one at the end. Or you could simply blend the two practices, by cultivating a loving gaze, and observing your breathing throughout the practice in that kindly [...]

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Pingback from Cultivating self-compassion (Day 29) | Wildmind Buddhist Meditation
Time: May 10, 2013, 12:00 am

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