Learning and Receiving Metta
The beginning of many old Buddhist texts are quite powerful. They remind us of our “noble” heritage as descendants of the Buddha himself. You may or may not choose to believe this, but the message is powerful nonetheless. The texts call us to remember our Buddha nature. In other words, they ask us to remember our capacity for compassion, kindness and awakening. We are reminded that we are not the small self that we often get stuck in and that the seed of awakening is always within.
It’s an empowering and humbling thought to explore. Even when we feel averse, unkind, jealous and unsettled, beneath all that lie the seeds of compassion, kindness, empathy and equanimity. That is welcome news to me.
I have to admit I have not been so kind to myself lately. Through inattention and indulgence, I have been unkind to my body. A combination of skiing, biking and running has left me with a knee that is quite inflamed. A longing for my days of running clouded my better judgement and my ability to listen to the cues of my body. That said, now I know and I will take better care and most likely lay off asana and exercise for a while to come while I allow time for my knee to heal. It’s tempting to feel harsh toward myself for not being more attentive in the first place, but as I am often reminded, holding harshness and aggression in the space of awareness is quite a different thing than believing it. It’s softer. The harshness is less persistent.
Last night, my sweet seven year old, Sonia, asked me to sleep with her. I kindly obliged and mostly I love the opportunity to snuggle with her. She has been watching as I have been more cautious with my knee and taking extra care to wrap it and elevate it especially at night. She is naturally empathic and loving. As I changed and arrived to her bedroom, I walked in to see that the bed was made for me. She had piled three pillows on my side of the bed and laid her favorite soft pink blanket over them so that I could rest and elevate my legs. My heart melted. It was the most beautiful gesture of care and kindness out of the sweet innocence of her big heart. In that moment, I was reminded that this wellspring of kindness lies within all of us and especially within her. Perhaps I have not been so kind to myself in the last few weeks, but last night I received metta and kindness from my sweet baby girl. Thank you Sonia.