Friday, August 7, 2015

I love you anyway

Very early tomorrow I will be getting on a plane and heading off to a fairly remote retreat center in Colorado. Very early. The first flight leaves at 5 a.m., which means leaving the house around 2:30 a.m. to allow for check-in and security and all that.

I made the arrangements a while back. Lots of life has happened since then and I forgot what I'd booked. When I looked up my travel arrangements this week, my immediate reaction was, "What fool booked these flights?" Of course, it was me. And of course there were reasons -- cost, check-in time, etc.

At those moments, when my first reaction is to speak harshly to myself, I am reminded of a story Sharon Salzberg tells in "Lovingkindess." She'd been practicing metta meditation for a while but wasn't sure it was having an effect. Then one day she broke a glass and heard the automatic voice of her self talk, "You're such a klutz." And then the voice of metta spoke up: "And I love you."

Practicing metta meditation doesn't run you into a bowl of mush. It doesn't necessarily stop the voices of habit in your head. It does add the coda: "And I love you." Yeah, sometimes you make bad decisions, sometimes you don't pay attention, sometimes you mess up. And I love you.

You come to believe that you are loveable. And if you are loveable, even with your annoying habits, others are too.

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