In a doctor’s office, I hunker down, insulated with a book, believing everyone, like me, is wearing a Do Not Disturb sign. We’re here with our angst, our viruses, our aging bodies. We avoid eye contact. We just want to get in and out as quickly as possible. It’s just a holding station.
Then I remembered Sharon’s latest daily mediation and decided this would be a great public place for a lovingkindness meditation exercise.
I close my book, look around and start to pay attention. I found my breath…started noticing each person, felt my heart and started concentrating on them, saying the phrases, sending metta, back to myself, back to them.
As I noticed, I began to see.
A young mother beside me tucks a blanket around her baby, whispers soothing sounds to him in a language I do not know. The baby turns his head and looks at me with big brown curious eyes. I smile at him, sending metta and he holds my gaze with an unblinking stare.
A middle-aged woman crosses over to an older man, reassures him that she’s almost done, that she just needs to get some x-rays. They are relieved. I send them metta. She looks over at me as she reaches for her coat. Our eyes connect and we smile.
A thin pale young man sits across from me, his back rigid, his face sad, his eyes staring straight ahead. I send him metta. Near him, a harried looking mom with two small children is encouraging a game of catch with a little stuffed donkey. The boy throws the toy and it sails over the mom’s head into the lap of the young man. He startles, grabs the toy and looks around, confused. The mom rushes over, apologizes profusely. He offers a weak smile, catches my eye, holds it for moment before quickly looking away.
I felt a shift of something inside me and I struggled to understand. What was that? What happened? I was just sending lovingkindness. The room had exploded. It was warmer and full of light and colour, and the people were actually people. We were connected by an invisible thread. Including me! I was in the circle and I was glowing too.
This wasn’t just being present.
This was the practice. This was love. This must be what Sharon means by freely acknowledging, freely loving…sending unconditional good wishes.
By practicing the practice, I was able to be present, to look past the weariness and heaviness and see the light of humanity in that room. And I was able to feel my place in that humanity.
Did the world change in that moment? Yes it did.
With continued good wishes as we learn, share and practice together.