Tag Archives: kindness

Imagine them to be family

I arrived as a volunteer in Dzogchen Beara last year august and my first period here I stayed for 5 ½ months. In that period I worked with a few volunteers and staffmembers. Living and working in the hostel (having a bed in the female dorm), I also met loads of other people every day. 

Not everyone was to my liking: some were to noisy with bags in the bedroom, or they cleaned different than I did, they didn’t care enough for the cats here, they asked me questions at the wrong moments. It took me some time, practice, conversations and contemplation to realize that that were all thoughts in my mind.

All of my thoughts and what I might see as ‘facts’ is actually saying something about myself, not about the other.

With some help I came te realise that all the people around me were here to give me a possibility to learn something. I like this quote about that:

“Imagine that everyone is enlightened except you. The people you meet are all here to teach you something.”

Richard Carlson-  (Book: Don’t sweat the small stuff.)

The longer I worked here, the better I understood that when a new volunteer came I automatically thought: “No matter what my first impressions are, we are here together. We are part of a team. We work together. We live together. We are family.”

Some volunteers felt like people I really connected with, others were like an annoying little brother and another one was more like the irritating aunt I would avoid at family gatherings. Still: I tried to accept them all, because that’s what you do in a team, a family.

And you know what: ideally you could do that with every person in the world, we are all connected anyway. But let’s start small, with the people around you. And work with that.

Work with your own habits, your reactions, your assumptions, your prejudices, your preferences, your view.

And spread more love, acceptance and Loving Kindness. Also to yourself. Because yes: some people of them will trigger you. That’s how you practice.

And be honest…. You might as well be someone else’s annoying sister or irritating uncle… Wouldn’t you like them to give you a change, to see you from a more loving perspective?

Related posts:
To live in a hostel dorm for 5 1/2 months
Loads of people

The power of Loving Kindness

I believe that thoughts are some kind of energy. Negative thoughts will bring more negative in the world. Positive thoughts bring more positive in the world. To simple? Maybe to some people, but it is a fact that you can only have one thought at a time (although it may seem like more if you have a busy mind, I know how that can feel..). And as a human being you’re almost always having thoughts anyway, so why not choose to have more loving ones once in a while?

For the last weeks I had the opportunity to be more online and I followed the news and Twitter more than the months before. A bit was inspirational and for the rest I felt sometimes powerless and overwhelmed about a lot of things that are happening around the world. And with people. Big things. Small things. Just lots of things. Until i suddenly remembered the Loving Kindness meditation. Yes, that’s what I always can do! Send more positive thoughts into the world. I have a reaction anyway, and at least I feel better myself when I make it a more positive one.

During my stay as a volunteer at Dzogchen Beara -Buddhist retreat center in Ireland- I got to know the power of Loving Kindness meditation. I had to get used to it, and after a whole weekend retreat about it, realised how loving and powerful it is. For myself and others. What it is?

It is a timeless spiritual truth that we all have an immeasurable treasury of love within us. 2,500 years ago the Buddha taught his disciples the meditations on Loving Kindness as a way to reconnect with that inner wealth. In modern times these meditations still provide gentle yet powerful tools for opening our hearts and minds. (source: Dzogchen Beara site).

To simplify it: the basic form is to sit quiet, connect with the universel love -or a holy person that you feel connected with- and repeat phrases like: ‘May I be well, may I be happy’ to yourself in your head. You can later expand it by saying ‘May you be well, may you be happy’ to other persons. (I’m not an instructor, so if you really want to know more about it, go follow a good course, or read a good book about it, like this one from Sharon Salzberg).

So instead of looking at the news and feel annoyed or flabbergasted by someone or something, I send Loving Kindness to that person. ‘May you be well, may you be happy’. And if I feel that a whole group of people are acting in a way that I don’t think of as loving to others (or themselves), i’ll say something in my head like: ‘May you all be well, may you all be in harmony with each other’. In this form I don’t sit down to meditate for a while first, I just focus on those sentences.

If anything, I feel better myself if I choose to do this, instead of being grumpy or angry or fed up with others. And if I feel better, than I am developing me inner peace and bit by bit that also leads to a more peaceful world. And the most powerful thing for me is: there is always a choice. You can always choose how to react on things and people. Isn’t that a wonderful and strong idea in a world were we get so much information all the time!

“Every good thing you do, every good thing you say, every good thought you think, vibrates on and on and never ceases.” Peace Pilgrim

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