Today I experienced a Metta Meditation centred around:
- May I be Safe
- May I be Healthy
- May I be Happy
- May I live with Ease.
I practice kindness but struggle with applying it to myself. Guided to use my breathing to bring loving kindness to myself was a very new concept but somehow it was easy to welcome as a peaceful calm came over me. With candles surrounding me I really felt the phrases become part of me and felt a healing hug envelop me.
Next, I applied these phrases to other whether they were people who positively impact my life or those who struggle or have caused me pain. This concentration on loving kindness felt like an old friend or an extension of my intentions that I hadn’t quite seen before. It was as comfortable as my name and helped me connect with my purpose.
Another meditation (Tonglen) guided me to breathe in negative and exhale that which I would want to share with the world. This seemed so odd having been programmed with the “in with the good, out with the bad” approach. As I practiced this, however, it became more comfortable. As I reflect back now, I realize in my past this concept existed once before when my ‘self’ was contained in a body much smaller. I remember just knowing that I was exposed to things a child my age should not see or hear but I consoled myself that I could be okay.
On one evening as my inebriated father sat on the sofa, with a dark look of hatred in his eyes, he spat out words at my mother that I knew were not meant for my ears. As if on auto-pilot I knew I had to protect her. Perhaps at age five or so, being a veteran of the fights and abuse it didn’t scare me as much as the hatred he spat out disgusted me. I crawled up onto her lap. I’ll be her shield I thought. As the hateful words hurled across the room at her I breathed them in and I exhaled love. I can block them, I can keep them from hitting her heart, I thought.
I watched as her hand reached for her coffee and how the caramel-coloured liquid first sloshed up one side of the cup, swished over in a wave and then repeated its motion on the other side of the cup as her hand shook. How can one man hold so much hate? I wondered. I breathed in again and tried to absorb that hate so my beautiful mother would stop shaking and crying. I’m not sure what happened in the following moments but my next memory is dad banging on the bathroom door and me wondering why he couldn’t let her pee in peace. Next, there was a lot of commotion. The carport was lighting up red on and off, on and off.
Later, I sat with my big sister on the hardwood stairs that led to the second floor of our two-storey house; she told me that mom was at the hospital. The nurses would take good care of her and they’d be waking her up every few hours to make sure she was okay. Somehow I understood that she had taken some pills and she had just wanted the hatred to stop. I failed to protect her. I had let her down. I coloured a picture for her in my colouring book dividing the girl’s outfit right down the middle, colouring one half green for my mother and one half red for me.
Today, I take a big breath in and I forgive my father. I send him a prayer in that moment so his spirit can heal. I send my mom a prayer too sending her strength and love both now and in that moment as well. And to the self that I was then, I send loving kindness, for that is what I think I needed the most then; and perhaps now too.
<I mean to offend no one. If this post is upsetting, I apologize and refer you to my disclaimers.>