I have been watching the Jubilee celebrations and it struck me how many people when interviewed described the Queen’s kindness. Many where describing how they had used her example as a way they had gone on to act in their own lives. They made me think about our relationships between our leaders and our own behaviour. If we follow the like of Putin does that mean that we learn that it is okay to just go and violently take whatever we want from who ever we want? Or if we have a leader like Gandhi do we learn that with love and tolerance we can win the argument?
Think of the leaders that children are influenced by. Obviously we have parents and siblings, teachers and friends and their families. Politicians and social or celebrity icons. What are these leadership figures teaching us. Only you can decide what the lasting lessons of Boris Johnson will be on the generation who are growing up under his leadership. The Queen’s model of leadership could be seen as very different to his yet she id probably a very remote figure for our media hungry youth where celebrity had so much status. How often do we see kindness.
Kindness is a fundamental aspect of all successful human communications and relationships. In many ways we can’t talk about kindness enough. You would expect me to say this because I always do…
…If we all look after each other we will all be okay…
We all have such great potential for love, care and kindness if we just stop long enough to listen and respond appropriately.
A couple of weeks ago Ed and I went to Amsterdam to attend a conference and exhibition. While the event was completely amazing there was something else that was in the air and in water in Amsterdam. It was in the looks of the people as they went about their daily lives. It has really stuck with me. It was so powerful. It was kindness. There we were in a community of people who were concerned with ensuring that each other were okay. It felt so good.
Scientific evidence shows us the positive effects of doing kind acts for others, as well as receiving or even witnessing kindness, has upon our brain and our emotional chemistry. Neuropsychology measures the increase of the positive endorphins in the brain that enhance our sense of wellbeing. Even the smallest act of kindness can change a life and being the one doing it can change your life aswell.
Each year kindness week and a kindness day. This year it was in mid February. I am using https://www.twinkl.co.uk/event/international-random-acts-of-kindness-week-2022, as my resource for this week’s podcast. However, I am left wondering why we can’t have a loving kindness year or even a loving kindness life. Back to my mantra…
If we all look after each other we will all be okay
The concept of sharing loving kindness is common in most schools of meditation, known as Metta. Metta or as loving kindness meditation that often comes at the end of normal meditation practice, though it can used as a full meditation of loving kindness. In Metta we are expressing caring and empathy for others and even all sentient, feeling and beings. Traditionally this begins with yourself and then, like ripples from a pond, it spreads in ever increasing circles to encompass all of creation.
In this blog I am partly quoting from Bodhipaksa who is a Buddhist practitioner and teacher, and founder of Wildmind in 2001. Well worth a visit http://www.wildmind.org/metta/introduction/what-is-metta
In the current time we need to be building positive emotional connections with all those around us. For many meditators Metta is not limited to meditation practice but is a way of life.
Metta is recognising that all sentient beings (including all animals) can feel good or feel bad, and that all, given the choice, will choose the former over the latter. Such contact with feeling implies that there can be suffering for all beings. This is the point where I became a vegetarian. The bottom line for me is that other animals do not have to die in order for me to live and that other animals do not need to suffer so that I can live.
Metta is the solidarity that we have with others, this sharing of a common aspiration to find fulfilment and escape suffering. At this time, dealing with Covid and the aftermath of Covid, we can choose to help others and they choose to help us we could reclaim community. The way that I see it is that if we all work together we can achieve anything.
Metta is empathy which is the willingness to see the world from another’s point of view: to walk a mile in their shoes. When we are consciously awake and are aware and switched on we can learn from the experience of other people. When we are consciously asleep and switched off we often have to suffer individually in order to learn and grow.
Metta is the desire that all sentient beings be well and are doing well, or at least the ones we’re currently thinking about or in contact with. It’s wishing others well. When we look after others the chances are that they will look after us and wish us well. Creating the positive and peaceful family of community. This takes me back to that feeling in Amsterdam.
Metta is friendliness, consideration, kindness, generosity. Charity is when we offer friendliness and support to others. It may be money though the most charitable thing that we can do is to be there for other people when they need us.
Metta is an attitude to action rather than just a nice feeling. It’s an attitude of friendliness but friendliness in action.
Metta is compassion. Compassion means ‘with feeling’. When our loving kindness meets another’s suffering, then our Metta transforms into compassion and we feel and respond to their needs.
Metta is shared joy. When our Metta meets with another’s happiness or good fortune, then it transmutes into an empathetic joyfulness. We feel better and more joyful from having made that compassionate connection with another person.
Metta knows no bounds. We can feel Metta for any sentient being, regardless of gender, race, nationality species, ethnicity, orientation. When trained in psychotherapy we are encouraged to treat all those people that we work with, with unconditional positive regard. We also need to treat ourselves in the same way with unconditional positive self regard.
Metta is the most fulfilling emotional state that we can know. It’s the fulfilment of the emotional development of every being. It’s our inherent potential. To wish another well is to wish that they also be in a state of experiencing Metta.
Metta is the answer to almost every problem the world faces today. Money won’t do it. Technology won’t do it. Metta will.
That last point is so simple, yet is is so true. All the world problems could be solved right now with a little loving kindness. Too often politics and the media go out of their way to reinforce the differences between people. Metta shows how similar we all are, and not just human beings all animals, all of creation.
Have a go at the meditation of loving kindness on the Palouse site and enjoy the other great links, knowledge and facilities offered there.
Here is a link to a full metta loving kindness meditation…
Be happy and share your Metta