Music has always been a huge part of my life, so forgive me for often using song references like this one from the late great James Brown. But who knows, maybe you will play this song today and smile!
The tie-in here is what I discovered while beginning my loving kindness meditation this morning.
I have been having some difficulty for a while now in sending myself loving kindness. Not that I do not have love for the self, but it has seemed somewhat egotistical to focus on how good and lovable I am.
But this morning was another one of those small epiphanies that often happen during meditation. I became aware of just how good I feel when I am helping others.
When someone is sad and I can show them comfort and compassion, I feel good. When I donate to a charity I feel good. When I help my Temple in any way, I feel good.
Kind and loving actions that are for the benefit of others is truly what makes me the happiest. Especially when they are done with no expectation whatsoever.
Listening to another dhamma talk yesterday by Tara Brach, she spoke about how everything we do is actually a negotiation. That we attach some expectation to every action we do, whether it is at work or home.
For instance, you may mop the floors for your Wife, but there is an expectation of reward. Perhaps just a thank you is enough, or maybe you hope for something more. It is unlikely that you mop the floors just to mop them. And this is only one small example of so many examples you can find if you begin to examine this for yourself.
More often than I care to admit, I operate on this same quid pro quo basis however silent I may be about it.
Giving and doing for others unconditionally generates a very different feeling for me. There is a purity in these actions that develop true loving kindness and compassion for the self. This is what “fills my tank” so to speak. The more I am able to practice this, the more love I feel that I have to offer others.
And how wonderful that caring for others becomes such loving benefit to the self! Without expectation or reward of any kind, I continue to nourish that which am I able to do, to bring comfort and aid to other beings.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.