Friday, May 4, 2012

Kedoshim: Love your neighbor=love yourself

Kedoshim Lev. 19:18 "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

In order for this instruction to be effective, we must love ourselves in a wholesome and accepting way.  If we subjected others to the same hypercritical, uncharitable thoughts that we sometimes think about ourselves, out neighbors would not think us fair or kind. If we treated ourselves with the compassion and kindness that we deserve, we ultimately will come to be kinder and more compassionate to others.

Try this blessing exercise as a way to cultivate a loving stance towards your self: Bring into your mind someone whom you trust has your best interests at heart. With the breath, imagine this person filled with peace.  As you breath in, you sense your “benefactor” filled with peace.  As you breath out, your benefactor exudes this quality. After a few breaths, imagine your benefactor filled with happiness, and then with loving-kindness. Shalom, simcha, chesed. When you establish a firm sense of these qualities washing through your benefactor, turn to yourself. On each breath in turn imagine yourself imbibing peace/shalom, happiness/simcha and loving kindness/chesed. You might want to say “May I be blessed with peace. May I be blessed with happiness. May I be blessed with loving-kindness.” Use at least one breath for each quality. End your meditation with the intention that greater peace, happiness and loving kindness flow throughout all creation – INCLUDING YOU

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