Michael Sam: The Power of Loving Kindness

We can get one of two people with the release of defensive end Michael Sam from the St. Louis Rams. Michael Sam can look at this release as a show of fairness that his skills were not good enough for the NFL and try harder while he is still young to be a better defensive player. Machael Sam can just as easily blame the release on discrimination. Which ever shows up the next couple days will be interesting to see. What character will triumph. Accepting or Deniel.  Everyone will have an opinion on the matter tossing their angry and venemous words at one another like a money with his poop in a display of banishing egos.

Please allow us to practice alternatives to shouting matches and blinding intolerance to be entertained by both sides.

The Gift of angry and hateful words does more harm to ourselves than it does to others. From “Mindfulness in Plain English” by Bhante Gunaratana – The Power of Loving Friendliness.

“When someone tries to make you angry or does something to hurt you, stay with your thoughts of loving friendliness toward that person. A person filled with thoughts of loving friendliness, the Buddha said is like the earth. Someone may try to make the earth disappear by digging at it with a hoe or an ax, but that is a futile act. No amount of digging – not in one life time or many life times – makes the earth vanish. The earth remains, unaffected, undiminished. Like the earth, a person full of loving friendliness is untouched by anger.”

Intolerance is never appeased by more intolerance. The Gay community trying to force others to accept their choices, but unwilling to accept other theirs choices is an example of intolerance appeased by more intolerance. Intolerance is a two way street. Christians and the Gay community pass one another all the time. They have harsh, hateful, and unkind words for one another. “By love alone is anger appeased.” ~ The Dhammapada

We are what the world is. If we want peace, love and acceptance – we must BE peace, love and acceptance. This message is for both sides of the debate.

Again, Bhante Gunaratana writes, “In another story from the Buddha’s life, there was a man named Akkosina, whose name means, “not getting angry.” But in fact, this man was exactly the opposite: he was always getting angry. When he heard the Buddha never got angry with anyone (even those who treated him horribly) he decided to visit him. He went up to Buddha and scolded him for all sorts of things, insulting him and calling him awful names. At the end of his tirade, Buddha asked this man if he had and friends and relatives. “Yes,” he replied. “When you visit them, do you take them gifts?” “Of course,” said the man. “I always bring them gifts.” “What happens if they don’t accept you gifts,” the Buddha asked. “Well, I just take them home and enjoy them with my own family.” “And likewise,” said the Buddha, “You have brought me a gift today that I don’t accept. You may take that gift home to your family.” With patience, wit, and loving friendliness, the Buddha invites us to change how we think about the gift of angry words.”

What about the gift of gentle kindness and understanding coming from both sides. Anger and resentment is the gift we carry within ourselves. Why are we so quick to give this funky gift to others when we can very easily give the gift of friendliness and understanding? Finally, Bhante Gunaratana, “We must let the power of loving friendliness shine through every encounter with others.”

Mindfulness Meditation means being in the present moment. To be fully aware of your situation and emotions. To observe them and not become attached to the ego that is attached to your opinion of SELF. Observe the breath. The breath is universal. It makes us one. We have very different beliefs, but we breath the same. Take a deep cleansing breath before allowing your ego to react. Give thanks to the breath. Send loving kindness towards those who bring the gift of hatred and anger with them, but do not accept the gift of intolerance. That is theirs to bear alone.


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