Perhaps the best present you can give anyone is your presence. Just showing up is at least half of what it takes. The other half is fully being there with them in that moment. NO cell phones (or at least put it on airplane mode), no side conversations. Give full attention to those that you are gifting your presence. You don’t have to be perfect and say just the right thing, just pay full attention to what the other person is saying. Smile or frown when appropriate or nod if you can’t think of exactly the right words.
It may be disarming to them at first. It is a rare thing and always has been. We would like to, but can’t blame technology. People have always been distracted and giving someone this gift of your presence does put a bit of you on the line for approval or not. You will probably find, if you persist, that this is really what is wanted. Perhaps even more than that big screen TV.
If you don’t quite have the bravery required for this (it does take a bit), try at least putting the cell phone away and pay better attention to the moment. For those people that always seem to get you irritated but you really want to try, go to a movie or participate in an activity they like. Maybe bowling, hiking, snorkeling or even sitting together and reading would be good. You could try reading out loud to each other.
If even this is tough give them a gift of your time by doing something for them, paint a door, pull some weeds, cook something or fix that drippy faucet.
The surprise is that when you give this gift of presence you receive a whole lot more than you give.
Until I am the Buddha herself I will occasionally feel anger. And that’s OK.
The practice of opening the heart with Sheng Zhen Gong will overcome that anger every time.
I was at an event where the theme was love, unconditional love. After a day or so there was a question/answer session with the main speaker during which a woman expressed that she didn’t feel loved or loving. I had a hard time imagining how that could be at this point in the event. I was feeling all the love at that moment. Later on in an informal conversation with a small group of participants I noted that when I heard her say this I didn’t know whether to feel sad or angry. Someone replied with some force “Oh! Never angry!” I was a little taken aback. She seemed to be angry at my anger or at least judgmental about my being judgmental. There didn’t seem to be any recognition about the inconsistency of this. I was aware that, at an event about unconditional love, anger was an inappropriate response. I was acknowledging this. I was confused at my own feelings. There was no further discussion and the subject quickly changed.
There is a difference between feeling anger, expressing anger and acting on anger. We need to acknowledge when we feel anger. We should probably even examine from where that anger comes. That is how we change and grow. My short lived feeling of anger at the unloving/unloved woman came from a feeling that she was being manipulative in order to receive more attention. Since I know I can’t be manipulated like that against my will, it makes it easier to let go of the anger. Holding onto anger doesn’t hurt the person we are angry at, it only hurts ourselves. But denying or repressing feelings of anger is not the answer. Forgiveness liberates us.
I did get to know the woman who expressed her feelings about love and I realized she was as conflicted as I was about her statement. She just felt safe to express her feelings and isn’t that what unconditional love is supposed to do – make us feel safe? She was feeling the love but maybe she just didn’t recognize it.
The picture is of a Buddha Guardian head that I took at the Buddhist Temple in Nara Japan in 2010.
Isn’t this picture calming? I spent 10 days in this room learning more Sheng Zhen Gong from Master Li Junfeng. It was a spectacular experience of qi gathering and movement, but more importantly heart opening. I will write more about this but I may take some time to absorb the experience. For now, I will just say it was great!!
On Christmas day many people in the world celebrate the birth of a child. The birth of every child is a miracle and welcomed with unconditional love. No matter what your faith it is a good time to remember the feeling of unconditional love that we have felt for a newborn child and extend it to all. We were all children. We are all miracles.
Check out the instigator of this Take a Picture link up at mauishopgirl