Practicing loving kindness

I met Broadway actor and writer John Cariani a few weeks ago at a writing workshop. I sat in the front row and was so delighted to be there, John asked if he knew me. I assured him he did not. I knew him from seeing him on Broadway but I was pretty sure he had not noticed me in an audience of about a thousand people.

Partway through the class, John asked me again, confused. “Do we know one another?”

I smiled. “Nope!”

Then it occurred to me that I was watching John teach with an open heart. I was projecting kindness and love because I felt kind and loving. John was being generous with his time teaching a class in rural Maine and I was deeply appreciative. He saw that and was confused. Don’t others beam at him like they’ve known him their whole life?

Part of my morning meditation is on having an open, kind, generous heart. When you start your day with an open heart, it carries through to a class you love. And it’s amazingly grounding when weird things happen.

Let’s say you have a head-on with a co-worker. Or you get cut off in traffic. Or you feel slighted by a friend.

When you approach the tougher situations in life with an open heart, you’ll feel positive energy light up within you that beams out to the world and helps you understand that the coworker who lashed out may be in pain. Or maybe they’re afraid of something. Their anger or pain probably has nothing to do with you. Look at that person with kind eyes and an open heart. It may make them crazy. Or it may help them have a better day.

And the person who cut you off in traffic? You don’t know what’s going on that made them rude, so send them loving kindness. They didn’t make a great choice, but you’re okay. Give them a genuine smile. We’re all one and maybe next time you don’t make a great choice someone will smile at you.

And how about the friend who slighted you? Something is going on or they wouldn’t be acting this way. Give them a kind smile and ask if there’s anything you can do for them. Or if this is their normal way of treating you, how great it is that you see the pattern. Now you know it’s time to step away from a destructive relationship. What a gift they’ve given you.

Living your life with an open, kind, generous heart helps you connect with friends, family, and strangers. We all want to be loved and accepted. Living life with an open heart casts a magic spell of loving kindness on the world around you.

And that’s how we do our good work.

Don’t believe me? I’m sending you loving kindness so you can try this at home :). Happy Monday!

We stumbled on a beautiful river park this weekend. Rocks, water, and light. The Universe is an amazing place.

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I welcome your thoughts and suggestions for future posts!

6 thoughts on “Practicing loving kindness

  1. Thanks for the comment, Tracy. One of the participants in Sharon Salzberg’s class I was listening to said she was very good at practicing loving kindness – except when it came to people. :). This is a difficult practice to keep in play but when we do it makes everyone’s day 🙂

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