Write about your neighbor*

Last summer a new neighbor moved in and he smoked. I was irritated by this because it was hot outside and I wanted the windows open. Unfortunately when the windows were open the pollution of the smoke inundated my senses. Eventually my irritation turned to anger and I found myself wishing really awful things on this person I didn’t even know. Things began to really snowball when I finally saw this person smoking in front of his apartment. He was scraggly and pale and  I made up all kinds of scary stories in my head about him.

At the time I was learning about Mettā, also known as Loving Kindness meditation. Mettā is form of meditation in which you send love to all beings, essentially.  I won’t get into the details (if you are interested you can find instructions here). I decided to send loving kindness to our neighbor. Mettā is  hard to do when you are not feeling any love or kindness for someone. I certainly was not feeling any of that. But I still said these words in my head and  directed them to my neighbor, who would be smoking on the front porch as I did this most likely (’cause he was a chain smoker).

May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you be safe
May you live with ease.

Like I said, I didn’t feel any kind of love or kindness toward this person but I said the words anyway. What did I have to lose?

The craziest thing happened. Not long after I started doing this our neighbor struck up a conversation with Raf. He heard Raf upstairs running his tattoo machine and asked him if he was a tattoo artist. Raf ended up tattooing him and they developed a friendly acquaintance. Eventually I chatted with him too when I ran into him outside our apartment. I found out that he was a really nice guy (not the scary person I concocted in my  mind). I learned his story and have a great deal of compassion for him now.

When I think about this I am amazed. Loving kindness is truly a powerful thing.

 

*I was looking for writing prompts so I could have something to blog about today and came upon this fabulous website.

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4 thoughts on “Write about your neighbor*”

  1. I have been in your shoes, here’s a quote that might help you:

    “To be human is basic, the foundation from which we all arise. You are born as a human being, and that can not change until you die. Everything else-whether you are educated or uneducated, young or old, rich or poor-is secondary. In truth you and I already know each other, profoundly, as human beings who share the same basic goals. We all seek happiness, and do not want suffering” H.H. The Dalai Lama, How to Be Compassionate, A Handbook for Creating Inner Peace and a Happier World. p77,78

    Metta
    Keith

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