Loving Kindness as it is practiced in Buddhist tradition is the art of consciously sending positive intentions to others.
What sometimes makes the practice of Loving Kindness distinct from actual acts of charity, (which may arise from the practice of Loving Kindness), is the way in which the person practicing views the recipient of their loving intention.
Instead of pitying the recipient of our loving intention, we instead consciously choose to see, or visualise them, as unbroken, whole and complete. In so doing, the sender of loving intentions not only helps to alleviate the recipients suffering, but also helps them remember that they too, the sender, are intrinsically unbroken, whole and complete.
When we remember that how we see others is actually how we see ourselves, it is easier to open our hearts, and become re-enchanted with the world.
Readers of the All Seeing Boy and the Blue Sky of Happiness may like to consider the five steps to Loving Kindness outlined below, to better understand and appreciate, the Blue Sky of Happiness meditation described in the book, and here.
5 Steps to Loving Kindness.
Cultivate a heartfelt wish to see others free of suffering.
In the All Seeing Boy and the Blue Sky of Happiness, the All Seeing Boy’s quest begins with a simple, heartfelt wish to help lift the spirit of the people he loved, for no other reason than to see them free of suffering.
In the same way, it’s important that we also engage in the practice of Loving Kindness for the right reasons, i.e not just for our own ends, but rather to see others liberated.
A good way to do this, is to begin the actual practice of Loving Kindness by considering the suffering of people close to us. When we empathise with someone’s suffering, it is natural to want that suffering to end. In so doing we begin to experience the ‘connection’ between ourselves and others, which is the ultimate outcome of the practice of Loving Kindness.
Understand the reason for your own and other’s suffering.
In the story, The All Seeing Boy learns that we experience sadness when we forget or ignore our own true nature. Our true nature is that we are not our thoughts. At all times, in the same way the blue sky is always present behind the clouds, our true nature remains unbroken, pure and whole.
We only experience sadness and its subsequent suffering, when we choose to identify with our sad thoughts, and choose to ignore or forget our true nature.
Practice actively remembering your true nature so you can feel it more keenly for others.
The practice of Loving Kindness is not about placing others above or below us.
The practice of Loving Kindness instead invites us to recognise that we all share the same true nature. In the same way that we all dwell under the same blue sky, no one owns an exclusive right to be happy at another’s expense. And, indeed, no one’s pure, unbroken and whole Self, is better or worse than another person’s, pure, unbroken, and whole Self. My blue sky is your blue sky, is everyone’s blue sky.
In fact, the practice of Loving Kindness acknowledges that the more we remember our own true nature, the more we are able to help others remember it for themselves. So, to be sure we do not exclude ourselves from this great spiritual Truth, we begin our practice by first remembering our own true nature: unbroken like the blue sky on a summer day.
Practice actively opening your heart, by visualising others experiencing their true nature: the blue sky of happiness.
Having remembered our true nature and that our experience is not exclusive, we then take a leap of faith, by actively sending loving intentions to others so that they may too re-connect with their true nature. (Whether we believe they will feel our intentions or not).
There are many ways to do this, both within the Buddhist tradition such as the Metta Bhavana meditation, as well non secular techniques, such as the Blue Sky of Happiness meditation – described here.
The word ‘practice’ means to perform something repeatedly until its skill is acquired. So, to really affirm that our true nature is shared by everyone, and is not an exclusive experience, we need to repeat the practice of loving kindness often.
After sending loving intentions to people we love; we might consider sending them to people we only know as acquaintances; then those we don’t; those we dislike, and ultimately to everyone.
The practice of loving kindness is especially powerful for anyone who has experienced the hunger to belong to a wider group or family. When we send loving intentions to others, and experience the joy that comes from remembering that our true nature is not exclusive, we realize that we were never disconnected in the first place.
To practice the Blue Sky Of Happiness meditation now, click here.