“We say farewell so that later we can greet one another again.”
My beloved girlfriend started her letter to me with these words. It’s a recurring theme in our relationship – simple and beautiful.
Even in her absence I can learn things from her. In the past I have tried explaining to her what I knew about the brahmaviharas, and I suppose I did not understand them myself back then, but I always knew (and felt) that she “radiates” a lot of metta (loving kindness).
Now it is always easy to perceive things in my environment, but a lot more difficult to apply that kind of perception to myself. I often sense a lack of metta in people around me when they converse, even though they clearly wish to “help” each other and firmly believe in their own good will. It’s a bit like jumping immediately to karuna (caring friendship) or mudita (sympathetic joy), but forgetting about metta. Experience shows that it doesn’t work, as the principle predicts.
Yeah, and it simply doesn’t work on myself either. I do “forget” about metta very often. Usually when I perceive something in others, there is at least one instance of the same principle active within me. I just have to get used to look into the mirror with open eyes. :-)