Yesterday morning, as I lowered myself onto my zafu to begin my morning service & meditation, I was struck by a singular thought;
Loving Kindness is difficult for me.
It is not that I have a problem giving Loving Kindness to others, but I am suddenly acutely aware of my inability to receive Loving Kindness. And this one thought suddenly answers so many questions.
Questions like, why can’t I seem to maintain an open line of communication with my newly found family; my aunt Margene, who I first made contact with a year ago? Why is it difficult for me to reach out to & stay connected with my Buddhist community? Why is it so hard for me to make new friends or accept invitations to join in with people I don’t know very well?
I’ve often said that I’ve become more solitary & reclusive in my older age because, as many do with age, I find my capacity for bullshit & ignorance dramatically diminished. I say that I’ve never really been much of a “people person” & that I’ve come to realise in more recent years that I suffer from a bit of social anxiety, so I’m better off staying home or going out with a couple of close friends to familiar places. And while all of that may indeed be true, the root of it all lies not so much in my distrust of others, but in my distrust of myself & my own worth. In my inability to receive Loving Kindness from those around me because I question why I would be on the receiving end of it in the first place.
With this little revelation in my pocket, I set about my day, doing what I do, holding this at the back of my mind the whole time. Wondering how I could possibly manifest Loving Kindness in my life without first learning how to accept it. And the response I received (from wherever these call & response thought processes derive) was that I need to continue to meditate on this.
This morning, I again lowered myself onto my zafu & began my morning service & meditation. I should mention here that it has been awhile since I’ve performed these rituals regularly & being on the tail end of a virus with major upper respiratory symptoms definitely makes meditation more labour intensive. So as I sat there, attempting to breathe deeply through my stuffy nose, while maintaining presence, I suddenly found myself walking into the foyer of my great-grandmother’s home. Mama Kate there to greet me with one of her glorious embraces. The smells. The sounds. Every detail & colour precisely as I remember it. And with tears streaming down my face, as the chimes of my timer began to sound, I was chanting a new mantra;
I’m not ready yet. I don’t want to leave.
What does my great-grandmother’s house have to do with my ability (or lack thereof) to receive Loving Kindness? Well, I have some feelings about that. I say feelings because they are not fully formed thoughts quite yet. I know them, but cannot completely articulate them at this moment. In other words…..
To Be Continued.