After days of gloom outside it’s wonderful to have spring sunshine today as we move into contemplating karuna - which Sangharakshita has described as like metta with a shadow over it.
Ratnavandana says: It is good to reflect on our attitudes to suffering, whether it’s physical or emotional. I know for a long time I had this a sense that somehow suffering was wrong, that I shouldn’t be suffering, so there was a feeling of failure there which was quite undermining. So just check out your own responses and make sure you are not adding to it in some way. You can question yourself too - asking Do I want to suffer? Do I want others to suffer? What is so special about me that I protect myself and not others? Can I forgive those I have difficulty with for being imperfect, like me? Do I really want them to not suffer? Do I have the courage to help others in need? Do I have the courage to help my difficulty people in need? Our ability to be with our own pain and suffering enables us to meet and be with the pain and suffering of others. If we can’t do it for ourselves, it will be very difficult to do it for others.
Our communication exercises today included looking at someone with metta, then looking aware of their suffering, and then repeatedly wishing aloud “may you be free from suffering and its causes; may you be well and happy” - delightful!