Holding Life in Kindness
Holding life in kindness. Easier said than done for most of us. What’s interesting to me is to observe all the ways in which we hold life in aversion rather than kindness. It can be so subtle that they barely register as a form of hatred and hostility or it can be so obvious, and physically and mentally engaging. Every time I dislike what shows up in life, whether it’s a thought, an emotion or an experience, as subtle as the dislike may be, that is a form of aversion. A way of struggling with what arises. A way of struggling with who we are in the moment and how experience unfolds. It’s these subtle moments that go unnoticed that gather ground and create an environment of inner struggle and resistance.
This is where the practice of yoga and meditation has been so immensely helpful for me. Both of these practices offer a lens through which I can begin to notice all of these things arise. Whether it is frustration toward the scattered mind in meditation or the resistance to a posture in yoga, I begin to see the ways in which I remain in this constant tug of war against what is and what I hope would be. The power of noticing is that in the awareness of the struggle, there is no struggle. There is just awareness. Quite a beautiful thing actually. All of sudden I have loosened myself from being identified with aversion and instead I can rest in the awareness of it. This is the first seed of kindness building – of holding softly what arises.
Just last week, I was backing out of my garage, very happy with how well I had parked in the first place, leaving enough room for my husband’s car. I was backing out slowly and happily, when all of a sudden, in a moment of inattention, I swiped my right side view mirror. I heard the noise and immediately knew what I had done. My mind didn’t rush to its chatter right away, but as I stopped the car to really take in what I had done, my mind slowly began talking. “So much for all your meditation and mindfulness, you can’t even back your car out of the driveway without crashing the side mirror.” As my mind continued for a few moments, I just listened. Years prior, I would have completely identified with the thought and steeped myself in self judgement and criticism. Instead that day, I found that I had the capacity to listen to the chatter without believing it. Yes, it was a moment of inattention and the result was a cracked side view mirror. There was clarity in that. However, I am human and these things happen, perhaps to some more often. I continued on with my day.
More than reigniting my commitment to driving more mindfully going forward, I was happy to remain committed to holding life in kindness, no matter what arises; to continue the work and the beautiful practice of turning toward everything, the varied and intricate layers of our experience, with kindness over and over again. And yes, it is absolutely called a practice, because there will be moments where we falter and there will be moments where we rise. In kindness.