Filled With Loving Kindness: Hard Lessons

Filled with loving kindness.  May I be filled with loving kindness.  May you be filled with loving kindness.  May we be filled with loving kindness.  May we be well.  May we be peaceful and at ease.  May we be whole.

I pray those words every morning rather like holding on to a tattered rope while dangling off a cliff these days.  I want to be filled with loving kindness.  At moments, I think that maybe I am.  Then, along comes another moment filled with someone else’s rage and that’s what I’m filled with.  Then, along comes news that someone advocating racist positions has been given a new government position of leadership and the ensuing fear fills me. Then along comes someone who wants to make one big joke of the whole thing or who is celebrating the rise of bad ideologies and because I cannot laugh with them, grief fills me.  Then, along comes a conversation with someone I expect to be a friend and an ally who chastises me for not seeing things his or her way, and hurt or anger or both fill me. Then, along comes news that violence this year against Muslims in this country is up 68%, and the disbelief, still the inability to comprehend how my country became this hateful, fills me. Then, someone else I counted on to be in my community disappears, and lonliness fills me.

Somewhere in the unfolding of a day like this (and so far, since the election, every day is like this for me) I come to bed time, and all that has filled me wants to crawl into bed with me.  I find some way to begin to pull these energetic leaches off of me so that I can sleep, and exhaustion is what fills me along with what is left of loving kindness–a worn, tattered rope with my clutched finger prints on it.

I know that I am not the only one who is experiencing their inner and outer life like this.  I also know that people deal with it differently.  Many people deal with it in ways that I’ve listed above.  I see that, and because I see that I cannot just blow them off and tell them to take a hike.  Some of them are friends and family members.  Some of them are colleagues and students.  Some of them are simply fellow Americans.  Some of them are fellow Unitarian Universalists.

When we pray to be filled with loving kindness, I am learning that we are also praying to be opened up into a wider embrace–of people, of their experiences, of their own wide ranging emotions.  My inclination is to run and hide and seek loving kindness for myself, for my comfort, and yet, both loving and kindness require relationships.  Damn!  But, they do.  And that’s what I’ve been praying for.

Loving kindness is a very hard lesson for me right now.

Bob Patrick

This entry was posted in Filled With Loving Kindness and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Filled With Loving Kindness: Hard Lessons

  1. Jen Garrison says:

    I pray that you find the loving kindness you seek, both for your own healing and to make it easier to be among those who are uncomfortable to be around right now. I admit that I am in a self-imposed denial of sorts, refusing to absorb too much news and rhetoric for my own preservation. I refuse to stay angry to the point of scary thoughts- this new “leader” is not worth it!!! Instead I stay focused on the people I love, in the immediate sense. We can still create and sustain our soft landing place, no matter what is going on around us. I bought a sign several years ago for my home. It says, “Peace starts within and grows.” I hope this helps. Take care.

  2. Deborah Dietzler says:

    Bob, Thanks for sharing this. You truly echo what many of us have been feeling for the last week. It is a challenging time indeed.

  3. M says:

    Thank you, Bob Patrick, for your honest, raw description of how,so many of us feel right now. I like the imagery of removing the leeches. May we remember that loving and kindness DO require community and give thanks for those who console and nurture us.

  4. Peggy Averyt says:

    Next week I am hosting my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. All of my family has made it very clear to me that I was the only one not voting for Trump. One sister even went on to say that she could not believe I could be a liberal because our parents had taught me better than that. I am going to smile and try my best to show loving kindness to all of them. It will be hard, but knowing I have many loving people in my community will give me strength to exhibit loving kindness in return for their disapproval of my beliefs. Thank you for your words today. They will help me, too! Thank you, Bob, for being a part of my loving community.

  5. Lydia says:

    I sang and prayed in the pool yesterday and spoke kindly to the man and the woman in the pool with me who were strangers yet we had something in common. We were in the pool together after a long work day … small steps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *