Loving-kindness is one of the types of Buddhist meditation I practice. It brings about a peaceful, loving mind that accepts the world in a compassionate light. That being the case, how do you explain the following:
A few days ago I read in the New York Times that it was the first anniversary of the detainment and imprisonment of three young Americans who were hiking near the Iranian boarder. Apparently, there are some pretty waterfalls in the area and it’s a popular area to hike. They either strayed over the boarder into Iran or got close enough to be grabbed and are now being held in prison. The government of Iran has accused them of being spies. There is no trial date set.
The first thought in my loving-kindness mind? Why the hell are you hiking alone near the Iranian boarder?! Use you head. Their poor families are tormented. After that bit of rudeness, I meditated on their release.
The very next day I read a horrific story in the local paper about an 18-year old high school football player who died in an auto accident. He was driving a 2009 BMW at 1:00 a.m., lost control and crashed into a house at a high rate of speed.
The first thought out of my loving-kindness mind? Why the hell would you let an 18-year old high school football player (they tend to be on the aggressive side) drive a rocket like a 2009 BMW?! At 1:00 in the morning? Use your head. Do you know what my kids are going to drive when they’re 18 and still in high school? This:
When I was done with my negative thoughts, I meditated for the family’s grief and wished them well.
Meditation has taught me that I can be a judgmental prick sometimes.
A few days later, I was sitting by a fountain with 8-Year Old Daughter. She pointed out a brass placard attached to it that said all the money taken from the fountain is donated to charity. She asked for a penny. She held it in her hand, closed her eyes tight and tossed it in. We sat quietly for a few moments and watched the water dance. I asked her what she wished for, certain it would be a new Pillow Pet (the current rage in the suburbs) or some other bauble.
“I wished that a lot of people would throw money into the fountain for the charity.”
What do you do with a kid like that?
Tomorrow morning we’re leaving for lovely Cleveland to visit my family. There will be swimming. There will be a county fair. There will be expertly grilled ribs and homemade marinara sauce with, perhaps, some oxtail in it.