As people on the spiritual path it is imperative that we not only hold the awakened ones and our teachers with honor and appreciation, but we need to relate to ourselves, each other, animals, our earth mother and all that is with reverence, kindness and love. This can start from the inside out with they way we treat ourselves and those close to us. We can bring a sense of openness, kindness and patience to meet our experience. What happens is mostly not in our control, but how we meet our experience moment to moment is entirely up to us. Dharma training begins to loosen the hold our entrenched patterns have on us so we can meet our experience afresh. We can drop into awareness and soften into kindness, starting from the inside out with ourselves and then letting the benevolence, respect and appreciation radiate out to those around us.Bringing kindness to our experience changes the territory of our inner reality. More possibilities emerge, inner healing can happen. Patterns of relating can change. If it is challenging to start with yourself, you can start with others. In the words of the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa from his book Interconnected: Embracing Life in our Global Society:
Some people find it hard to see their own inner beauty. They wish to learn to be kinder to themselves but do not know how to go about doing so. I would say that in being loving and affectionate towards others, you can discover affection and kindness towards yourself.
In this case we can rest in the feeling of kindness towards another, soak in it and then allow it to meet our experience of self. Then we can watch and feel what we are bringing to meet the whole of experience, what is right in front of us moment to moment. Are we bringing judgment? Can we let go of that and rest in what is with openness and kindness? Are we bringing a sense of freshness, of opening to the wonder of what is? Or are we focused on what we feel is missing? We all have patterns of how we meet the experience of self and other. Our experience of what is completely colored by what state of mind we are in. We are all familiar with the common expression, “Is your glass half full or half empty?” It is said that this is a litmus test of our world view. Can we increase the sense of awe, of honoring, of curiosity, of caring, of love to how we meet what is?
Through meditation we stabilize our minds which brings out its natural clarity and openness. In this space and clarity we can observe our attitudes and shift how we meet what is. We create our karma and our world anew in each moment.