When I talk about lovingkindness in a little bit more of a deeper way, I talk about it more as a circular process. What I mean by that is, where normally we think of love as a linear thing, as something we give or receive, in boundless lovingkindness practice, there’s a way to work with love that’s more circular, where we’re both receiving love as well as giving it at the same time.
In the Buddhist tradition, we define lovingkindness as the wish for ourselves and others to be happy and to create the causes of happiness. Happiness is this elusive thing, but we all know what it feels like. We all know what it feels like to receive care, to offer it, and to experience warmth. So I usually like these terms, care and warmth. If care is a difficult term or word for you, you can use the word warmth. We all know when we feel warmth, when we are offering warmth to another—whether they are able to receive that or not. Warmth is there. It’s at the base of our being, and in this practice of lovingkindness, we’re cultivating that.
I also like to bring in generosity here, because normally we think of generosity as a material thing. But, actually, within lovingkindness practice, we’re offering generosity in the form of warmth. We’re offering generosity as a spirit, as a way of being with ourselves and others, again, in this circular way.
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