We all keep the seriously-challenging & most meaningful aspects of life at a tolerable distance by exclusively relying on our left hemisphere. The left hemisphere can only undervalue & try to drown out the right hemisphere. The right hemisphere is open to the left hemisphere's valuable but limited role IN CONTEXT of the right hemisphere's infinitely broader & deeper perspective of life & our true nature.
Most of us would do very well to immerse ourselves in psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist's decades of research findings, which skillfully update our understanding of how our two brain hemispheres profoundly affect our self-concepts, worldviews & our very survival: https://channelmcgilchrist.com/home/
“I would define love very simply: as a potent blend of openness and warmth, which allows us to make real contact, to take delight in and appreciate, and to be at one with – ourselves, others, and life itself.
... love is the central force that holds our whole life together and allows it to function."
John Welwood. "Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships. Healing the Wound of the Heart." Trumpeter, 2006. POWERFUL
"To be enlightened is to be intimate with all things." Zen Master Dogen
"I was born
when all I once feared
I could love.” Rabia Basri
"Once we are willing to be directly intimate with our life as it arises, joy emerges out of the simplest of life experiences." Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara
These 3 documentaries are imho well worth watching: "Stories We Tell" (2012, Netflix); "Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me" (2022, Apple TV+); and "Stutz" (2022, Netflix). In each, a well-known celebrity: Sarah Polley, Selena Gomez & Jonah Hill, respectively, lovingly share intimate details about themselves, as if we were very close friends.
These movies are gentle, indirect invitations for each of us to open our own hearts - classically - first to ourselves, which is the most challenging for many of us, and then to loved ones, 'neutral' folks we barely know, then folks we have a bit of difficulty with, and finally long-time 'enemies. Sharon Salzberg is the go-to meditation teacher for 'Loving-kindness meditation' eg https://www.mindful.org/a-guided-loving-kindness-meditation-with-sharon-salzberg/
Here's my humble suggestion for the 'BEST PRESENT EVER.' I promise that this will make you feel happier & more 'in control of your life' - in the best possible ways - than from any present you've ever received or given.
START TODAY! Take 15 minutes to sit quietly by yourself. Bring to mind one person whom you've had a difficult relationship, and whom you'll be meeting within a week or so. This could be a family member, someone you work with, client, etc. I now warmly encourage you to do loving-kindness meditation specifically for this person. For just a few minutes, intentionally replace your usual adversarial self-talk about this person with kind wishes – at least once a day, for a week. With heart-felt sincerity, offer these wishes for this person, silently, 3 times slowly:
May you be safe.
May you be as healthy as possible.
May you be happy.
May you live with ease.
• First, YOU are transformed as your heart de-armors, relaxes, opens & warms up a bit;
• Then HOW you engage with this person, pleasantly surprises them, because you're now naturally embodying more balance, kindness, relatability & approachability; and less armoring / anxiety / anger / aggression.
• This puts THEM at ease,
• Then YOU find them surprisingly more pleasant & enjoyable to be with.
You’ve just performed a miracle - transformed a hellish relationship into at least a neutral one, but perhaps a real friendship! You've ended a 'hurt child's' adversarial cycle & intentionally nurtured a wise elder 'tend & befriend' cycle! ENJOY your best present ever! Now you may well be motivated to continue with loving-kindness meditations for others - INCLUDING yourself.
“It never hurts to think too highly of a person (OUR SELF INCLUDED!!!); often they become ennobled & act better because of it.” Nelson Mandela
|Treasure Yourself ... by Mollycules www.BuddhaDoodles.com|