September 19, 2023

Beyond Words: Loving-Kindness, Self-Compassion & the Maitri Assignment.

I am on fire for love and yet my heart continues to mend.

Loving requires us to bend without breaking and be open to change and transitions.

We are all called to love. This love needs to start with self and then move out to the world. The maitri assignment is a lifelong assignment and we are all both student and teachers on the Buddhist path.

I personally have been working on loving-kindness practice now for the past 10 years and time has hurried fast. The past 10 years have provided me with a rich and not always easy education reflecting on my life and where I am at. I feel that it is crucial that I step up the self-love now more than ever. Why you ask? I want my life to be filled with peace, and I desire to lead with my heart.

Leading with the heart is all about self-compassion and loving-kindness. Opening my heart to love is a gift I give myself and the world even though it might not feel like it all of the time. This loving is hard.

I have had several teachers through the years and the greatest ones have exemplified maitri in human form. The maitri assignment is a gift that keeps on giving. It starts with daily practice and a wholehearted surrender to forgiving ourselves and others. In doing so, we embody benevolence.

Reflecting on what we need to receive is the start and unconditional love is the answer.

How does one love oneself unconditionally? This might be the most challenging task. Humans are full of self-doubt and critical inquiry. We constantly judge and size ourselves up.

If one is really struggling in the self-love department, little seeds of compassion are the start. We plant seeds of hope and love. These are the words of change and acceptance.

Looking in the mirror, we see ourselves how we appear and are all more than this reflection. We are all more than our image. We are humans, and we possess human traits. We are here on this planet to learn and grow. The maitri assignment is one of our many lessons. I am grateful for this education, and I continue to show up with tiny doses of self-love even when I feel lost and downtrodden.

When we struggle to love ourselves, we need to dig deep and listen to a higher voice.

Through writing and recording meditations, I am open to process and reflection. On difficult days, I call on my angels, and I infuse matiri into my daily schedule. I observe my thoughts and feelings with gentle curiosity and allow space for grace. When I am struggling with matri (loving-kindness) and find myself judging myself and others harshly, I reach out to my angels, and I pray for some support.

If negative thoughts start coming, as they often do in this earthly form, I pray and ask my angels what they advise. Sweet words are whispered and I take note. These notes become my meditations, talks, and poetry. I am called to move beyond words and take action, and so are you. This is maitri in action. We start with small micro-shifts internally and then take it out to the streets and the world. This is how maitri changes lives.

The micro-shifts are a few moments of meditation each day, which remind us of the importance of benevolence, loving-kindness, friendliness, amity, good will, and active interest in others. Change occurs with tiny ripples that spread. The biggest shift is within and our own lens of how we view ourselves.

In order to care for others, we must first and foremost care for ourselves. I practice this daily, and after I am done with my work providing service and care for others, I return to the practice of self-love and pray the following prayer.

A maitri prayer 

May I be filled with peace.

May you be filled with peace.

May joy fill my heart.

May love flow like a river from my heart to yours.

May I feel safe and secure.

May you feel safe and take comfort in the arms of love.

Wrap your arms around yourself and meditate on love.

~

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