Today I was driving and encountered some hostility on the road, imagine that……how surprising. (Welcome to L.A.)
I started feeling anger arise and I immediately said to myself. “This is what anger feels like” Instead of allowing it to overflow and take over I decided to follow a teachers advice which was…
“Loving Kindness is always a good response, you can never go wrong with sending Loving Kindness”
So I sent Loving Kindness (LK) to myself and then I sent out LK to all the drivers that I encountered on my journey. Instead of seeing someone with eyes of judgement I saw and sent them LK. I then realized a few things.
First of all, one cannot send Loving Kindness without it putting a smile on their face. Try it. I found myself getting in such a good mood just by the smile that was generated by a simple gesture that took a second to do.
Secondly, I noticed that when I looked at someone without mindfulness, I usually judge and label them. I put them in a box. i.e. Seeing a homeless person, I would involuntarily label and put them in a box called “Homeless person” and add all of society’s stereotypical labels as well. I wanted to switch it up abit to see if from a different perspective. Curiosity took over.
Thirdly, I realized that when I sent someone LK I forgot to judge them. The proverbial “Ah Ha” moment occurred. I noticed that I didn’t have enough time to do both. Once I sent them LK, I moved on to other things and judgement wasn’t one of them. So it looks like I accidentally changed LK for judgement. Hmmm, Maybe my studying is finally starting to take hold.
So I started my new practice of sending Loving Kindness to everyone as a default greeting, silently. I actually learned this a while ago by reading works by Chade Meng-Tan of Google fame. I guess I just needed a reminder.
Give it a try. I challenge you to try it next time you walk into a crowded room. Just look at each individual and say to yourself, “I wish for you to be happy” Notice if the energy of the room changes. Since only you know you are doing it, it’s extremely safe and you won’t get embarrassed.
Remember….It’s Only Stuff