3 - Loving Kindness (empathy)

Metta practice in Buddhism is the practice of wishing well for yourself and all beings. It is very important that we start with ourselves and this is true on all levels. For one, we cannot serve our children very well or anyone else if our own needs are not met, and on a more universal scale, we, in essence, represent all beings – realizing the interdependence of all aspects of our existence and all beings is an important part of connecting to a larger truth, and some suggest that it is our illusion of separateness that is the source of all of our suffering in the first place. Of course, we do mostly experience ourselves as separate, and that's what makes it so important to connect with that sense of separate existence in a caring, loving and forgiving way.
 
We emanate positive caring intentions only, and these intentions radiate out to all, and we always start with ourselves in order to empathize with the wounded aspects of our psyche and to give from a place of fullness or wholeness. There is a vulnerable wounded child living inside each and every one of us and it still seeks safety and unconditional love. Luckily, if we develop an awareness of him or her, we are in a position to provide to our children the deep seeded sense of safety and acceptance that they long for. They, after all, are living with and creating their own vulnerable child in the present, and we have an opportunity to either help them repress that vulnerability or learn to harness it as one of the most powerful sources of intelligence they will ever know.
 
As we practice self-empathy and feel the benefit of it personally, we can radiate that skill and quality to those we care most about, to those for whom we have neutral feelings, and even to those with whom we have conflict or difficulty. Widening our scope of care and concern generates a supportive context in which children thrive and the moral compass we set for them is clear and purposeful.

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