By Lynda Shadbolt
Published June 16, 2020
We all have stories we’ll tell about our time in this pandemic. How we spent our time, what we learned about ourselves, what was important every day, and how we got through it. We have all faced challenges.
During the first week when I was at home and my business was closed I decided I would lead a 100 day loving kindness meditation on my Facebook page. I’ve always wanted to do more meditation in my business and in my life and so on a whim I posted the event and set off to lead it. I really didn’t have a plan. I did some research and in a traditional loving kindness practice there are four sections of 25 days.
The first 25 days are dedicated to cultivating loving kindness towards yourself, your loved ones, your community, to people who you have a hard time with and eventually to all beings. All beings including two legged, four legged, feathered, those that swim in oceans and lakes and rivers, those that hop and slither and finally all flowers and trees. The idea is that all beings are full of life, energy, spirit and we should love them all.
The second 25 days are about cultivating compassion for yourself and all beings. Compassion for the times when we, or anyone, is having a hard time.
The third 25 days are about cultivating joy and gladness. Noticing joy, focusing on things you are glad for and having sympathetic joy for all beings. Being happy for the good fortune of all.
Right now we are in the final 25 days which are about cultivating equanimity. Balance. Living in the world with a big open heart and helping out, but not taking on the problems so you don’t get burnt out from over-giving. The idea is that you help others without being attached to the outcomes.
Everyone is responsible for their own happiness. It is hard work to do and equanimity relies on a strong sense of love and compassion. I have learned so much leading this practice, and it has helped me when I have been lost in my own mind worrying, being full of fear or doubt or anger or sadness. I have the practice that I keep leaning into for support. And I have the connection of the fellow meditators.
Sunday, June 21 is Father’s Day and it will be day 87 of the loving kindness meditation. As I sit to lead the meditation on that day I will dedicate the practice to all dads. I will be thinking of my own dad who is 92 and is staying strong in this pandemic. He has lived through a lot in his life and he keeps carrying on. I will think of my husband who is a loving, present and fully engaged dad. He loves his daughter and it shows in every way.
I have many friends who are dads full of love for their children and engage with them in so many ways. Every dad does it in their own way and makes a difference. Every kid benefits from a dad who loves them, spends time with them and is there for them through the good times and the challenging ones. “May all dads be filled with loving kindness. May all dads be well. May all dads be peaceful and at ease. May all dads be happy.”