I haven’t written a blog post for the pause in a long time. There are lots of reasons for that I suppose: too busy, feeling overwhelmed by life, and not sure what would be useful to write, to name just a few. Between the pain and loss caused by the COVID pandemic and the painful, yet hopeful awakening to centuries of government-sanctioned racial violence, it is hard to know what to say.
This week though, a friend sent me a link to this website, called “Window Swap.” It’s a site where folks from around the world have uploaded the view from their windows, essentially their view on life during the pandemic. I felt inspired to share it with you all.
I was entranced, and spent a long time clicking from one window to the next. I saw views in Germany and South Korea; Lithuania and Greece; Chile and Alabama. It went on and on. Each view was amazing to me. I imagined a person, sitting and looking out each of the windows. I wondered what each person was like, what their life was like, and how they were faring during the pandemic.
What struck me was the multitude of perspectives that are out there. Each window represented a different culture, a different view on what is important and meaningful in life.
As I looked through the windows, I became aware that even though I have no idea who is behind each of those views, I do know with absolute certainty that just like me, all of them want to be happy, healthy, peaceful and safe.
This, you may recognize, is the lesson of the “neutral person” in a typical Loving Kindness, aka Metta, meditation.
In a Loving Kindness meditation, you offer good wishes to yourself, someone who has been kind to you, someone who is suffering, someone you don’t know well (the neutral person), and even to someone who is difficult to deal with. If you’re curious, there’s a guided one you can try in our free meditation resources for students.
The neutral person is my favorite, because offering good wishes to someone I don’t know brings me in touch with the powerful truth of our common humanity: we all wish to suffer less.
No matter who you are or where you are, you want to suffer less. And with the practice of Loving Kindness, I get in touch with the fact that you and I have this in common. It makes me feel connected to you. It makes me feel that I want you to suffer less; I want everyone to suffer less. It even inspires me to make choices that help me lean in the direction of helping others to suffer less.
Wherever you are right now, and whatever you are doing, I wish you health, happiness, peacefulness and safety.
If you are safely quarantined or working on the front lines, keeping the rest of us safe, I wish you well.
If you are grieving the loss of a loved one from illness or racial violence, I wish you well.
If you are risking your own safety to fight injustice, I wish you well.
And if you are doing none of these things, I wish you well, wishing you the same health and happiness, peacefulness and safety, I wish for myself and those I love.
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