Sunday, April 1, 2012

Reset Sunday: Smile!

This week, let's challenge ourselves to be more open and warm to our fellow human beings. When you are walking down the street, on that jogging trail, in the check-out line at the supermarket, pumping gas or at a friend's party, look for the opportunity to make eye contact, smile, say hello and maybe even start a conversation. This does not mean creating forced, fake or unnatural contact. It is simply about being alert to your surroundings and the people that are sharing space with you in the moment. It is about putting down your phone, getting out of your head and out of your plans and worries, and sensing the living, conscious, complex and amazing beings all around you. Be sensitive to the moment when someone might be open to connecting and give that some attention and energy. Have the courage to bridge the divide. Just a moment of warmth and an honest smile can really renew someone's feeling of belonging and self-worth. This may take you out of your comfort zone, but just experiment with it this week and see how you feel.

If you find that feelings of judgement or separation are creating resistance to this challenge, I encourage you to try doing a loving-kindness meditation to help foster deep feelings of compassion. Here is the meditation. Each line you say in your mind as you complete one full breath, inhale and exhale.

May you be well.
May you be healthy and strong.
May you be happy and safe.
May you be free from suffering and have insight into the cause of your suffering.
May you be filled with compassion.

Start by focusing this mediation on someone you love. Next, focus on yourself. Next, chose someone you are indifferent to. Then choose someone who you have difficulties with (this can be someone you know personally or a public figure). Finally, focus on all beings.

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