In the traditional Metta Bhavana (Lovingkindness) meditation, there’s a stage where we bring to mind someone we don’t know very well and imaginatively offer our well wishing to him. I always thought this practice was perfectly suited for us modern citydwellers. We probably encounter many times more people we don’t know every day than those we do.
And so I was particularly pleased to find this post by Emily Herzlin today (the photo credit also goes to her). She blogs about someone who has found a way to talk kindly to complete strangers and not be seen as a weirdo. I’ve actually tried some of these myself. It really works.
Replacing Urban Anonymity with Affection
“…Jon said that James Schuyler complains there’s far too much “genius” in this world and not enough “amiability.” So we set out on a walk to create some amiability.
Jon led us down Broadway, took a right on 114th St, heading towards Riverside Park. The rain was holding out. A mother with a stroller passed by us heading in the opposite direction.
Jon nodded at the stroller and said, “That looks pretty cozy.” The mother smiled at Jon and at her child and said, “Yes.” Another mother with a stroller passed, and Jon said the same thing: “That looks pretty cozy.” Again the mother smiled and laughed. When a third mom and stroller passed by I was already grinning, knowing what Jon was about to say, and anticipating the woman’s smile. The line never failed…”