This is such an interesting practice. Today I started with myself, sitting myself across from me, and trying to look first, to see how I appear to me. Fuzzy, fleeting image of me, for some reason appearing as I did about three years ago. Just trying to hold the image (this is part of how I do this practice) is a challenge, and coming back gently if I lose it, not beating myself up for not being a perfect visualizer, etc, is all part of it. So I begin to feel my heart and offer energy, vitality, good wishes, blessings, etc, to me. It feels good. I am receiving it, feeling it, sending it, and staying with it relatively well.
Then I move on to my wife, and reproduce the practice. Somehow something that’s come up between us the last couple weeks arises with quite a sting, and I feel tender, vulnerable and sad that there is anything between us at all. But I continue and feel something shift, some energy release from the center of my chest, and a few tears fall. It’s quick, nothing major, and once it’s passed, there’s a freshness, a brightness inside me and inside her (image of her).
Then I try out my parents. Right away after bringing up their images, holding hands and looking at each other, I veer off into thinking about something else. Noticing this, I come back, and begin the practice. Somehow I can’t hold their image, can’t hold the concentration at all, and keep getting distracted. No surprise since it’s my folks, and there’s so much there to relate to, a whole lifetime’s worth of pain and joy. So I keep coming back, smiling, knowing that this often happens for me when I try Maitri practice, that if the person I’m trying to work with is someone I have difficulty with, then my attention greatly wavers. So I take notice. As I keep wishing them well, from my heart, somatically and energetically (as best I can), I actually find myself getting grumpy and slightly depressed. It’s a vague complex of grey feelings and I can’t tell you why-maybe because they’re getting old and a lot of the “issues” we’ve had, I know they’re not going to be resolved-and that will leave me living with them. Who knows. I’m tempted to say, well this didn’t really work, did it? I’m not feeling very kind, just grumpy. So I come back to it for a few more minutes, and then let it all go.
Then I have an interaction with my mom that triggers me, and somehow, I’m able to hold my tongue, instead of saying something pissy. So maybe it did help.