Appreciating Opposite Perspectives: Loving Kindness Part Two

Paddle Board or Snow Board?

Recently I experienced some conflict with someone in my community and I was surprised. Surprised at the extent of their suffering, and surprised they had not contacted me to resolve the problem. One of the tools that helps me greatly, especially when I experience all sorts of confusing emotions, is to practice Loving Kindness meditation.

When we are able to wish someone well, in spite of having a different perspective or viewpoint, seeds of empathy are more likely to be planted and grow. Even if the conflict isn’t resolved in a way we would like, we can cultivate a quieter mind, therefore increasing the likelihood we will choose healthier responses. That’s the bottom line for any meditation practice; being in relationship with others, with self.  How are we supposed to live in community when we are are knotted up in a wad of tangled emotions? As a coach with an wholistic approach, one of the things I do best is help clients identify emotions in order that they more easily create goals, make plans, and take action. One of the definers of a healthy life is healthy relationships, along with social support and a sense of belonging and purpose. Therefore any practice we can cultivate that sows ease of mind and body is worthwhile. Check out this article about science behind Loving Kindness. Finally, an article by renowned author and meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg. I hope you enjoy, and make sure to give yourself a big dose of loving kindness. Self-compassion is an essential element of this practice.


Stop and have some cake

Let's Have Some Cake
peace offering


Have you ever found yourself wanting ever so quickly to have a technique at your disposal in order to avoid a pending disagreement? Last summer, I read “The Art of Communicating” by Zen master Thich Nat Hanh.

In his deeply touching, yet light way, he suggests asking your loved one this, when you find yourself going down a weedy path…”Would you like a piece of cake?” Then, you actually offer the person a piece, or something else delicous. I suppose if you wanted to avoid sugar, you could offer fruit or a carrot stick!

Really, though, sometimes even thinking of another response is enough to help us shift into another gear.

“A smile is the shortest distance between two people”—Victor Borge.