- Ruth Heal
Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Musings and Thoughts from Ruth
Maitri is a Sanskrit word which can be translated as benevolence, loving-kindness, friendliness, amity and active interest in others. This concept is discussed in the Metta Sutta of Buddhism and the ancient texts of Hinduism and in Pantanjali's Yoga Sutras. Buddhist writings are in Pali, another ancient language, and metta means the same as maitri. It is a concept with a very long history and yet right now it appears to have been forgotten about.
Loving-kindness is something that seems to be in short supply in the world today. Being kind to others is not what we see in the media, rather what is celebrated is the me first culture. We see it in the unwillingness to move to social medicine, in decreasing the taxes payable by businesses and the wealthiest, and when people don't hold doors or greet each other when they pass in the street. The divisions being created amongst the population suggest that some groups of people do not deserve kindness.
I believe that we all lose something when we do not focus on loving-kindness. To act with kindness makes us feel good as well as the person who receives our kindness. We get and give those benefits with those near and dear to us, our neighbors and those we do not even know. It is important to also treat ourselves with loving-kindness.
Being kind to ourselves fills us up. We say things in our own heads about ourselves that most likely we would never say to others. We are deserving of understanding and gentle guidance from ourselves when something goes wrong. When we lose our keys, in our heads we may say "you are so stupid and forgetful!" with a very critical tone, but can we find some understanding that maybe we were rushed when we came in and the phone was ringing so we just threw them down in a different place.
My challenge to you is to bring just a little more kindness into your interactions, maybe a smile and a genuine "How are you?" to the person on the checkout. You could ask yourself at the end of the day what you did that was kind.
Bring awareness to loving-kindness in how you treat others and yourself every day.