The beauty in loving kindness can be found in the idea that we are compassionate beings who can recognize the plight of the other and respond to them in love. Loving kindness includes taking a step outside of yourself to recognize that now is not the time to address a deeper issue to the person who is having a problem. It is to be present, and listen. Loving kindness is listening to the other while having understanding and appreciating what the other is saying and where they are coming from. It is resting with the other person in the words they are saying and in what they are trying to convey or what the situation is trying to convey, while simultaneously bringing peace to the situation.
Loving kindness is choosing not to lash out at someone else, but to be patient and kind, while sending them loving thoughts and energy even if you do not say them out loud to the person standing in front of you that has the issue. When showing loving kindness to someone else it is eliminating a preoccupation with the self and cherishing the other or the situation for what it is. In cases where you need to show yourself loving kindness it is giving yourself the space to be able to show yourself loving kindness and sitting with yourself in the moment, cherishing yourself.
As Vincent Ryan Ruggiero has said, it is having disciplined emotion enough to be the spiritual presence of balance in a situation, to have reflection and put the skill of reflection into practice by taking the initiative in loving the other especially in difficult situations. Loving kindness deepens your understanding for others, even when you disagree. When you disagree, loving kindness is the art of “disagreeing without being disagreeable.” Loving kindness is remaining calm in situations of great turmoil, while being the physical presence of peace to those in conflict.
When words are expressed, loving kindness can be when someone:
~Sincerely and genuinely apologizes,
~Gives you the gift of their time, presence, and positive energy,
~When someone volunteers to help you without you asking them-yet they know what you really need before you have even labeled it for yourself
~When someone can still see the good when all that can be seen by others is evil.
~When you can stand ground for a larger group of people in the face of hatred and adversity. When you can help overcome the challenges that lay before a whole system of injustices, even just by your silent presence or little movements towards the other.
~When you are able to continue to be a true witness to the goodness of God despite everything else appearing otherwise, while simultaneously uplifting people out of darkness, or holding the light for someone else so their torch still continues to burn and can turn into a flame for that which is good.
Loving kindness can also be when someone embraces you for precisely who you are, without the desire to change you. It can be the simple act of appreciating you, even when you are having a difficult time with something. It can be embracing a concept or idea you were unsure of before, or seeing the light in a dark situation, and bringing that light to others still in the dark.
In this view, loving kindness is the glue that holds society together when society is fraying. Loving kindness re-weaves the thread to be stronger than it was before.
You can foster loving kindness by asking yourself the following questions:
~What are some ways I can show people I appreciate them and accept them for who they are?
~How do I currently respond to people when they disagree with me, and is there a better way I could respond to show them I understand their point of view or vision?
~How can I be a loving and peaceful presence in the world?
~What can I change now to be more of a peaceful presence to others, especially in times of conflict?
~Is there someone I am judging and need to let go of judgement of?
~Is there a better way for me to exist around this person?
~How is God asking me to exist for this person or this situation?
~Who is God calling me to be for this person right now and in the future? What does that concretely look like right now, in this moment?
~If the person has hurt you: Have I forgiven this person (or others) for the ways they have hurt me (or others)? And if I have forgiven them, how can I show them that in this moment?
If this is a conflict that exists in business or larger society as a whole, these additional questions apply:
~Who am I called to be in this situation now and in the future?
~What is it that this situation needs right now, and how am I called to action to help with it?
~What could I be judging unfairly in this situation right now, and where am I in needing to be more open-hearted?
The benefits of lovingkindness are manifold. They include creating a better society, creating peace and harmony, and creating social change. Additionally, according to Ruggiero, lovingkindness helps fight against prejudice, brings out the best in others, makes individuals happier and healthier, and deepens humanity.
(Author mentions: Vincent Ryan Ruggiero The Practice of Loving Kindness: a Guide to Spiritual Fulfillment and Social Harmony)
~ Posting dedicated to the DRC: ~ From Years of Conflict to a more Democratic Republic