Taking kindness to heart (Day 2)

April 13, 2013

Lotus, isolated on whiteToday, as part of 100 Days of Lovingkindness, where we focus on the development of basic kindness and compassion, we’ll continue with the practice of self-metta.

I’m suggesting a simple practice today to help you bring a more kindly attitude into your daily life.

It’s simply this: be aware of your heart.

I’m not talking about noticing your heart beating, but about bringing awareness to the central part of your chest, and coming back to that over and over again during the day.

This area of the body is very important in terms of emotion, which is why “emotion” and “the heart” are virtually synonymous. And even more crucially, “love” and “the heart” are … Read more »

Bringing kindness to mind (Day 1)

April 12, 2013

Lotus, isolated on whiteIn one of the Buddha’s teachings on purifying the mind, he said that the basic attitude we should be cultivating can be summed up in the thought:

‘May these beings be free from animosity, free from oppression, free from trouble, and may they look after themselves with ease.’

Traditionally this kindly and loving attitude starts with how we relate to ourselves. If we carry around a harsh attitude inside ourselves, in the way we talk to ourselves internally, then it’s harder for us to have kindness for others.

So apart from doing some sitting metta practice today as part of 100 Days of Lovingkindness, I’d encourage you to cultivate kindness toward yourself throughout the … Read more »

The most fundamental thing you have in common with any other being

June 25, 2012

There’s a verse in an ancient Buddhist text that says something to the effect that we all want to be happy, and yet we destroy happiness as if it was an enemy, and we all want to avoid suffering, yet run towards it as if it were a dear friend.

This really resonates with my experience, and recently I’ve been incorporating a reflection based on this into my lovingkindness practice.

I start with myself. I recollect that I do in fact want to be happy and acknowledge how difficult it can be at times to experience joy and wellbeing. And then I ask whether some part of me is prepared to root for my own … Read more »

How to love yourself (guardian angel not supplied)

January 22, 2012

Someone on Facebook just introduced me to this very moving clip from Luc Besson’s 2005 film, Angel-A, about an angel, played by Danish actress Rie Rasmussen, who intervenes to rescue, Andr√© (played by Jamel Debbouze), a self-loathing scam artist on the verge of killing himself.

This makes me long for the days when I used to live around the corner from the Glasgow Film Theatre, where I enjoyed many fine foreign movies…

Don’t beat yourself up

January 2, 2012

Most people know their less than wonderful qualities, such as too much ambition (or too little), a weakness for wine or cookies, something of a temper, or an annoying tendency to rattle on about pet interests. We usually know when we make mistakes, get the facts wrong, could be more skillful, or deserve to feel remorseful.

Some people err on the side of denying or defending these faults ( a word I use broadly here). But most people go to the other extreme, repeatedly criticizing themselves in the foreground of awareness, or having a background sense of guilt, unworthiness, and low confidence.

It’s one thing to call yourself to task for a fault, try to … Read more »