Metta practice is not about them; it is about us. 

Metta practice is not about them; it is about us. 

We do not love other people because they deserve it or because we want something from them. The practice of lovingkindness is for cleansing our mind stream. 

Being kind is a healthy mental and emotional state to be in, and the more often we can conjure it up and sustain it, the better off we are and the better we feel. 

Whilst radiating lovingkindness in all directions to all beings, the conscious mind is bright and luminous, and our unconscious mind is being subtly transformed, such that we become a kinder person, more disposed to respond with lovingkindness in the future. 

Anger and hatred, on the other hand, are inherently toxic. Anytime they emerge from the depths of the psyche and flow into our active mind, they cause harm and bring about disharmony. Anger and hatred affects us as well as others. Being in a state of anger and hatred causes lasting damage to the quality of our own character. It also hurts others. 

Enacting even low doses of anger such as annoyance or disapproval reinforces a toxic quality of mind and hampers our ability to love and be loved.

There is a lot that is wrong with our world, but attacking the things or the people that we don’t like or feel we have been hurt by, always leads to harm in the long run. The Buddha offers the image of a person thrusting a torch at someone upwind: the intention is to harm the other, but the torchholder is the one who gets burned. 

Lovingkindness is the antidote to anger and hatred. That is why cultivating it is so beneficial. 

Allowing ourselves to feel pain and vulnerability helps us access the pain and vulnerability others feel.  This activates the healthiest parts of ourselves. Why should we allow anyone to obstruct that process. Why should the indisputable fact that someone has hurt us or deprived us drag us down and prevent us from being a better and kinder person? Why shouldn’t the lovingkindness we can experience permeate even the darkest corners of the heart and the world?

Lovingkindness is universal. It is not personal. This is what makes it so powerful as a tool for mental purification and emotional transformation. 

Let us do our best to extend it, especially to those we consider as having hurt us, or denied us what we feel we are owed, and help bring about more love and harmony in the world.

~ Some words on loving kindness edited and adapted from a piece by Andrew Olensdzki.

Looking fabulous right now: Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ & Buddhas :)

Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ with glorious shades of bright scarlet this autumn.
Brilliant scarlet colour!
Meditating Buddha sculpture at Glenwhan gardens.
Buddha sculpture at Glenwhan gardens.

Prajñāpāramitā the Mother of all Buddhas.

Sculpture of Prajñāpāramitā the Mother of all Buddhas. Artist Ajahn Vimalo.
Detail of Prajñā – Mother of all Buddhas.

Jung’s Flowers

The stunning Manchester Cathedral recently hosted the North West’s largest flower festival;
over 30,000 flowers no less were on display – a glorious uplifting experience for the senses; both physically and spiritually as well as stimulating questions about their significance in relation to the human realm. So here are a collection of my favourite flowers from that day with a few thoughts.

People of all millennia have attached mythical and religious meaning to flowers. Sometimes spiritual value was translated into material realms as happened to the cowrie shell used as currency in Asia and Africa.

Jung juxtaposed the rose as the western equivalent of the lotus symbolising transformation, unfoldment, purity and fertility. Rose is to the occidental world what the lotus is to the Asia and Middle East Cultures – a foremost feminine, mystic and sacred symbol, mythologically expressing the mother archetype.

Mandalas that imply protection have used roses and lotus symbology arranging 4 petals indicating squaring of the circle or united opposites.

Some Tantrists align the Lotus, also known as Padma as the womb, and there are many images where Buddha is in the lotus-flower. Plants symbolise growth, so the flower depicts the unfolding from a centre.

Jung also suggested that as the unconscious self was far removed from the conscious mind that it expressed itself through plant symbols – particularly roses and lotus.

The Dhamma, of Aniccha – the teaching of temporality; that the only thing permanent in this world is impermanence is exquisitely encapsulated by the ephemeral nature of flowers and their different stages of growth and dissolution.