One of the basic Eastern meditations on compassion starts with visualizing the loving care of your mother.
When the masters first brought this meditation to the U.S., they were shocked to learn that this very same meditation brings up anger, sadness, and anything but a universal source of compassion in Western practitioners. I find this story to be amazing, both as a daughter and as a mother.
How have we created a culture in which our most fundamental and basic form of nurturing is generally perceived as not good enough? Think about it – in those countries where poverty is more pronounced and opportunities are more limited, people generally regard their mothers with gratitude and appreciation, yet in a country where we have all of our needs met and most of our wants, we tell stories of deprivation.
I believe that our stories matter — the good, the bad, the truthful ones we all have in common and the illusory ones we make up for so many ego personality reasons. I’m not saying we should stop telling our sad stories, or the stories where we were hurt, or violated, or truth was not served. Telling these stories is a key step to breaking free of the pain they caused.
But I am inviting myself to also be mindful of the weight, time, energy, and heart space I give to the various types of stories I tell myself, and to make a practice of telling the good ones too. I expect this practice will significantly alter the nature of the future stories I have to tell.