This is a tough one for me because the things I do with great love come easily like parenting and being there with and for someone who is suffering in some way. However, to apply that great love to the things I dislike, like dealing with difficult people, seems impossible sometimes.
I am learning and growing so I have started to take the difficulty and work with it instead of against it or throwing my hands up and walking away.
I’d say that my sadhana has brought me into a whole new level of the game in which I see more and more that all these things I struggle with are grace and it merely takes a shift in perspective to return to that understanding.
So now I maintain mindfulness and heartfulness ESPECIALLY when I feel my mind and heart start to close when faced with difficulty, more specifically people who confound me so.
I come back to the breath, or Ram Ram Ram, or use the mala, or ‘I am loving awareness’, or ‘ocean of love, radiate love’ (which I modified from a Ram Dass lecture in week one).
It’s not easy and yet it’s always worth it and pays dividends in so many unseen and unknown ways.
For example, I will put incredible time and attention to detail into create the spaces I live in. I can lose myself in it, and spend a whole evening making sure it feels right. I love it. Time disappears, as do all of the thoughts of future and past. It’s just presence and joy. If I could lose myself into that joy, love, and timeless with other things - like doing taxes - all of life would be exceptional. Or if I could bring that same presence to meeting a large group of new people when, I would bring more of my full self. That requires me letting go of resistances and judgements I have about certain activities.
I love to cook, build garden things, camp, and take care of my animals. I am neutral about doing things like cleaning the house and teaching (I used to love it, but it has worn me down). I try to not think too hard about the things that must be done, not push too much energy into them, just keep them automatic…it just has to be done. I also try to make them fun like listening to podcasts while cleaning the house. With teaching I’m torn…sometimes I feel bad that the students aren’t getting “all” of me. This course has allowed for more patience and compassion towards them, and I bring some of the things I’ve learned into our class conversations. For example, talking about our emotions and how they come and go, like clouds in the sky. Trying to show kids that what they feel now will pass…even the joyful feelings.
It seems to require constant effort though, and that in and of itself needs loving attention. I don’t think in our human form it will all, always, be easy. A recognition of that is helpful. Just to have the periodic reminders that it’s all part of the game and to remain open, loving, and spacious with ourselves helps a lot!
Oh mahhhh gawdess, Jacquelyn - TAXES!!! I laughed thinking about how I procrastinate and put so much hurty energy on stuff like that! However I LOVE spending an entire day writing a song or creating a spiral of stones in my garden… I know we’ve commented on Great Mount Dishes in the group already, and I must now embark upon that expedition here at home… I am going to make an experiment of bringing loving energy to it. I’m also thoughtful about being in new social situations and how much of myself I sometimes hold back due to concerns around how I will be perceived… when (at least intellectually) I’m aware that the ‘I’ is a nebulous thing. Bringing that down into the heart invites me into the challenge of just flowing in loving awareness, just allowing and being… and in that practice, over and over, maybe I’ll start to remember what’s already present in me. It’s amazing how much energy goes into resisting instead of simply walking through something.
So true! There is so much energy put toward procrastination, that imagine bypassing that step…the energy instead put toward love! I think I remember a story about the Monk sweeping the floor and turning it into a mindfulness meditation…some things just need to be done.
“Whatever I did, I did in the spirit of the divine service. Hence, I was not quite worldly, though always engaged in household affairs. I had but one ideal, to serve all as God, to do everything for the sake of God.” - Sri Anandamayi Ma
It’s hard to bring an enkindled heart to things I don’t want to do, people I don’t want to be around, etc.
I try to change my attitude from “I have to clean my house”; to “I get to clean my house.” Or, “I have to give my brother a call” to “I get to give my brother a call.” That small change in my mind and heart makes me see an unwanted task as more of a blessing.
Like I am currently trying not to resist this discomfort as I learn a new Teachable technique in our chat!
I can be with this new discomfort, Ram Ram Ram
I am loving awareness and I can soften into this.
This is all helping. Ram Ram Ram.
My heart has Great Love (Day 10) when I help others. I could bring great energy and more peace by allowing more being and less doing. Like Jacquelyn’s quote from Psalms. Allowing that sweetness to infuse the rest of the day-to-day.
For me it’s cooking/ baking, but as we’ve been discussing here love or devotional service to God can be found even in the mundane… it’s not easy to live in that awareness all the time though. Taking Ram as a mantra might be a good way to continuously remind yourself of that throughout the day.
For me, the easiest things that I do with great love and the hardest things to do with great love would have to do with people. Its the easiest to be with great love with my partner and daughter and my cats. . Also, with my students - I teach yoga/mindfulness to kids. I just love them so much! I just pour it into them, they seem not to mind.
I’m having this really uncomfortable phase with being really hurt by difficult people, it used not to bother me so much. As I’ve become more open and vulnerable I’ve gotten stung enough, so it makes me distrust and withdraw. I don’t know what it would take to bring great love to those situations, maybe pretend that they are children from my yoga classes?
Mmh, what I do with great love is gardening at my allotment garden cottage. I enjoy the doing. Of course, I also have outcomes in mind, and I enjoy the outcomes, but the “doing” is the thing, flowing in the doing, doing in the flow, if you know what I mean. Maybe, just maybe, I’m not as much identified with myself there, like i am doing, I’m more like co-creating with the universe, a channel for the creative energy. Because mostly things rise from the ground and grow without any doing from my part. I’m not really doing anything - I wouldn’t be able “make” the things myself; I can only tend to the things, at times (or most of the time!) weeding things that also flourish without any doing from my part. I encourage this experience by redirecting my thinking from “my garden” to “the garden that has been trusted in my care in this life, for how long, I don’t know”. It would be terrible if the garden was “ready” one day! Thankfully it never is. I’ve been thinking how to bring this energy elsewhere, e.g. work - where there are things that I dislike, e.g. doctors not acting in the way I want them to act! (I’m a radiologic nurse.) At work I get very caught with “I” and the outcomes, I get all self-righteous and take myself and my work and everything very seriously. I end up stuck in my stories of how Dr. X is a selfish jerk, for example. I guess it feeds my ego, makes me feel superior, a better being!
I can relate. I too have felt hurts more intensely as I have followed the spiritual path. I think I just feel things more deeply now. It is hard to bring love when we are triggered. Jai Uttal reminded us the other night to breathe and know we are all wounded beings. In the moment it is hard but I think I will try the Ram Dass meditation from last week – the “just this” meditation. Even though it is difficult. Or, “I am Loving Awareness.” I have no answers for this, but partly what I need to do is forgive myself for not reacting with more equanimity. Love