On this dreary gray humid weekend, I have taken again to my obsession with Ted Talks. Robert Thurman, the first American to be ordained as a Tibetan monk by the Dali Lama, lectured on compassion in this talk. It was amazing. Why you ask. Well because he reminded me of some very interesting aspects of Buddhist teachings on compassion that could be useful at the moment. My favorite aspect of this talk is around what I term “Mama love.” You know that feeling you get when you meet someone who just exudes that limitless capacity for unconditional love. They may have aspects of them that remind you of your mother or another caregiver in your life. There are certain faces I think of who just represent for me the definition of divine love. The smile on their face when I see them, the warmth of their hug and that feeling of deep acceptance I feel when with them. It is so easy to see Mama love in them as it oozes from every cell in their body. That is not to say they are perfect, but they are capable of accessing love freely. Then there are people you meet who are about stab you with their eyes. They may be smiling or being kind but their energy is a whole other thing. Those people that make you think “Ugh, alright, let me just get through this. Just breathe and it will be over soon enough.” We all have experiences with people in our lives that challenge us. The interesting thing is that these people are here to teach us about love. What? You may be thinking “ya right, how is my boss being an ass to me loving and kind.” Well let’s take a look at this.
Thurman discusses the Buddhist teaching of using compassion to envision these challenging people in our lives as possessing Mama Love. He states that we all possess maitri or unconditional love just as Buddha does. He shares that envisioning all beings as mothers frees us up to find love everywhere. When we see that all people possess the potential to be loving and kind, it allows us to be loving and kind to all. It has taken some repeated reminders of this teaching to get it to sink in. What helps is to remember we all came from a mother and some people, even the ones that show you the least amount of love, are mothers. All beings are capable of having love and being loved. Those that are sending you the evil eye are lacking in love for themselves. They are projecting their anger at themselves onto you. You get to decide whether you are going to pick their anger up and volley it back to them or whether you say “so sorry you are angry, I hope you find happiness and are able to live with ease.” Thurman says that this is a way to make your enemies no longer your enemies. They will have no reason to be angry with you if you send them compassion rather than anger. Hmmm intriguing right? On the one hand it would be nice to not have enemies as it’s just a lot of work to keep up with that negative energy. On the other, the ego wants to say “Hells no, I am not being kind to that *&?! Why should I have to be the one to be kind.” Well because as Thurman says “whatever happens to other beings happens to us.” In a way, this reminds me of the “Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have done to you.” Also the concept of karma and reaping what you sow. We can’t really expect others to be kind to us, if we engage in acts of unkindness or even hatred of others. The daggers that get sent to you from someones eyes can easily be melted with kindness from you to them. If you be nice to those people who are angry with you, they truly have nothing to then be angry about. Oh and just to note, I mean be truly nice, not sarcastic nice. We all can do the fake smile stuff, that gets us no where because it is done with anger not love. All this is bringing me back to a chat we had a previous post The secret is simple…having compassion for others makes you happy. A compassionate heart is a happy heart.
So as you see, it all comes back to us. What we put out we get back. If we want anger, frustration and hate well keep on keeping on. If you want to live with more ease, well you play a part in making that happen. This week, when you encounter a person in your life that challenges you, maybe bringing the picture of the beautiful loving mama and baby above into your minds eye and imagining that they have the capacity for great love just as you do. No one is all good or all bad. We are all a mixed bag. We all have our own challenges and are not always our best selves. But we were once that beautiful baby; so innocent and loving. We are also a mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son of other loving beings. Softening the harsh edges in yourself will help others soften their edges too. How will you soften your sharper edges today? For me, this has all been some interesting food for thought to bring into my week. For now I think I will accept that this humidity has got me lazy and that’s not such a bad thing:) Enjoy your Labor Day with ease and love:)