4 April 2013
Dearest Angel Girl: …I suppose most of us are lonely in this big world, but we must fall tremendously in love to find it out. The cure is the discovery of our need for company—I mean company in the very special sense we’ve come to understand since we happened to know each other—you and I. The pleasures of human experience are emptied away without that companionship—now that I’ve known it; without it joy is just an unendurable as sorrow. You are my life—my very life. Never imagine your hope approximates what you are to me. Beautiful, precious little baby—hurry up the sun! Make the days shorter till we meet. I love you, that’s all there is to it. Your boy, Orson
~Love note from Orson Welles to Rita Hayworth
Do you believe in love at first sight? Or, should I walk by again?
In Orson Welles note to his love, he suggests that he has fallen “tremendously in love” with her. The love he describes is not a pick-up line. Rather, it is the love that comes from knowing that your life is improved because this person is a part of it.
If you were a chicken, you would be impeccable.
Of course, most of us know that Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles marriage ended in divorce. Why isn’t really important (and, perhaps, none of our business really), but the whole picture helps us see that this incredible intensity of emotion is not necessarily sustainable.
What is sustainable?
If the very real and honest sentiments expressed by Orson Welles in his love note could not even sustain a five-year marriage, how are we to understand the love that he describes. This is the love that we all long for—is it not? We want to have the companionship of someone who understands us, who supports us and who sustains us through joy and sadness. We want someone who takes away the lonely and makes life feel well-lived regardless of outside circumstances. Essentially, we have somewhat selfish motives for our love. While Orson Welles love note was intended for Rita, the love expressed within it is all referenced to his own need for that love and the intensity of that love to sustain him.
This Love Letter Thursday I give you a more sustainable love. It is “metta” or “loving kindness.” The Pali word metta is a multi-significant term meaning loving-kindness, friendliness, goodwill, benevolence, fellowship, amity, concord, inoffensiveness and non-violence. The Pali commentators define metta as the strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others(parahita-parasukha-kamana). Essentially metta is an altruistic attitude of love and friendliness as distinguished from mere amiability based on self-interest. Through metta one refuses to be offensive and renounces bitterness, resentment and animosity of every kind, developing instead a mind of friendliness, accommodativeness and benevolence which seeks the well-being and happiness of others. True metta is devoid of self-interest. It evokes within a warm-hearted feeling of fellowship, sympathy and love, which grows boundless with practice and overcomes all social, religious, racial, political and economic barriers. Metta is indeed a universal, unselfish and all-embracing love. (SOURCE)
Practicing “metta” or loving-kindness meditation is a sustainable form of love because it is completely unselfish. It is an honest wish for the happiness and well-being of all living beings—friends, family, enemies, hippoes and moose and ants and your cousin’s roommate. Not only is this a sustainable love, the expression of metta and the development of the skills of compassion represent a path to lasting joy.
How do you begin a metta practice?
The first place to start is what I would like to offer you in today’s love note. You start by being compassionate with yourself.
STEP ONE: CENTER with 10 Deep and Mindful Breaths
Take 10 deep breaths counting the exhalation and not the inhalation. This may be more difficult than it first seemed when reading the instructions, so just be patient with yourself and do your very best. Inhale to prepare and then EXHALE slowly (1) and inhale deeply and then EXHALE slowly (2) and inhale deeply and EXHALE slowly (3) and inhale deeply…….you’ve got it! Give yourself a maximum of 2-minutes to count 10-breaths. If your mind wanders or you lose count or you keep on counting inhalations instead of exhalations, just take a deep breath in and count ONE again on your next exhalation. Keep going back to ONE until your two minutes are up or you’ve reached a count of ten.
STEP TWO: Relax your whole body
You don’t have to go change into your special yoga outfit or sit on the floor or roll out your mat or dust off your meditation cushion. Right where you are, as you read this, relax your body. And, before you skip off to step three, I assure you that you aren’t quite relaxed enough! So, start with your feet, map your whole body from feet to head and notice sensation and let your body become heavy and relaxed part by part. Feet are relaxed, legs, hips, belly, low back, middle back, ribs, chest, heart, upper back, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, throat, jaw, mouth, face, head—-whole body relaxed.
STEP THREE: Make a Wish
Make a wish that your whole body is HAPPY, HEALTHY and FREE of SUFFERING. Make a wish that your whole body is PEACE.
Feel the vibration of this most honest wish in every cell of your body.
If we were to continue this loving kindness meditation, we would then extend this same wish to your family, friends, neighbors, all human beings, and all living beings……but for today, I just want you to give yourself a little metta. From me.
Please try this little meditation and comment below on the BLOG about your experience. I know you’ve felt the great passion that Orson Welles expressed for Rita Hayworth for someone in your life, but how does it feel to cultivate this complete acceptance and sustainable love for yourself? How is this different? What is the same?
Really? You really want more metta?
Of course you do! I regularly teach metta meditation in my drop-in meditation classes on Sundays at 11:00am at Mookshi Wellness Center or we can explore this type of meditation further in a private session. No matter where you live, we can study metta meditation practices together using the phone or SKYPE. Metta Meditation is especially wonderful for pregnant women and their birth partners. Everyone can practice metta meditation! To schedule a private session, family session or metta meditation instruction for your small group, please call me at (412) 855-5692.
This love letter is straight from my heart to you! I send love letters every Thursday and the best way to make sure you receive them is to sign up for my newsletter. Just click on the image above and you will not only start to receive my e-mail newsletters, love letters and updates, but you will also immediately receive a downloadable copy of my booklet “Three Steps to Greater Peace and Happiness” with tips you can use right now for greater happiness!