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28-Day Meditation Challenge Day 26: Metta for the Mall Shoppers

Lovingkindness meditation dispels the illusion of an us and a them. There is only us. ... . Sharon Salzberg

Oh, our gods, did you watch the Oscars? Or did you hear about it? Do you live in this world, among people who are part of relational networks? If you do, you MUST have heard about Seth McFarlane and the boob song, if not the other remarks.

Maybe you and your relational network don't care about pop culture. Maybe Congress and the "sequester" is more your game -- Democrats and Republicans on opposite sides of the line (on which sit thousands of jobs that depend on federal funding, from those who teach young children to those who build jet fighters).

Or maybe it's gun control. Describe the sides any way you want.

It takes a mighty strong span to bridge the binaries.

Lovingkindness can be that. It makes me recognize, in a felt way, that everybody wants the same things: To be happy. To be safe. To be healthy. To live without struggle. They want that for themselves and those they love. And everybody is loved by someone (or should be).

On Sunday, I took part in a meditation mob at a local mall. Usually, I go to the mall only to get specific things from specific stores; I dash in an out. That day I sat.

The first thing I noticed was how speedy I felt, even sitting still. The sounds, the environment, the light is all designed to make you vaguely anxious, probably so that you'll feel uneasy and buy something to assuage that.

I settled in, looking softly at the marble tiles a few feet in front of me. I noticed the reflection of the skylight, the watery change in the quality of the light as people walked past. And I raised my gaze and watched their knees go by, saw entire bodies and families on the far side of the open area where we had settled. At some point, I began to offer the phrases of lovingkindness to people as they walked past. And they were transformed -- or I was.

Instead of judging, I saw how they, and I, want to be happy -- and how that desire is deeper than any bag they carried. May you be delighted and affirmed. May you be safe from fear and insecurity, financial or relational. 

And may we all live with ease -- because it's only finding that ease in ourselves that allows us to extend it to others.

IDP bloggers are taking part in Sharon Salzberg's 28-Day Meditation Challenge, based on her book Real Happiness. Learn more, read about other people's experiences, or join in here.

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