For days, I’ve been writing in my head and on paper. When the time to write a blog post approaches, I watch my mind try to think of something wise to impart. The truth is, my mind (“the” mind) isn’t that wise. The heart holds the wisdom. So today as I write, I’m doing my best to let the heart speak.
My heart is full. Since my sister Carrie, died on December 5, 2018, I’ve received an outpouring of love in the form of letters, cards, texts, and calls. I received a small toy stuffed owl, a white feather, a silver butterfly pin, and a special origami crane. And hugs… oh, my goodness. I’ve received hugs by the dozens. I give them right back.
When I mentioned these kindnesses to a close friend, she remarked that she was happy to be reminded that human beings are kind; that they are loving. I agree: loving-kindness stands along with compassion, joy, and equanimity as one of the four “immeasurables” inherent in each of us. However, sometimes we confuse these pure qualities with what are called their “near enemies”—attachment, pity, indulgence, and indifference.
Wise ones say that even the non-virtuous carry the four immeasurables, although greed, doubt, ill will, or plain old laziness can block their expression. I suspect that each of us has experienced confusion at some time due to these hindrances. I know that I have.
Right now, though, I’m experiencing the kindness, generosity, and open-heartedness of people on a daily basis. Family friends from childhood have reached out to my sister, Jennie, and me with stories of playing board games with us while drinking Mom’s iced tea. Mom’s childhood friend, Anne, came to Carrie’s Thing, reminiscing about birthday parties and watching the Dollar girls grow up. I rejoice in these memories.
At the same time, I stay present and I move on. I get on the yoga mat and move my body. I sit still in meditation. I cry. I laugh. I hug. I carry on. I remind myself to look for kindness and goodness in all beings, not only the ones who reach out to me. I look especially closely if I don’t see those qualities at first. Like clouds covering the sun, obstacles may obscure our inherent traits for a time. May we each stay present and keep looking—inside and out. Like the sun, the four immeasurables can shine through each of us.
In love and appreciation,