Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Meditation for Better Relationships

No matter how devoted we may be to the spiritual life, few of us have the desire to become hermits meditating on a mountaintop. We have jobs, businesses, families, friends, and neighbors, and during our day we are sure to encounter difficult people sometimes. How do we do that in a spiritual way? Chade-Meng Tan describes three meditation practices that he has found to be extremely useful in helping him deal with people.
A long time ago, I came across this joke:

Once, a disciple asked, "Master, is associating with people half the holy life?"

The Master replied, "No, associating with people is the whole of holy life".

This joke probably started as a misreading of the famous Upaddah Sutta in Buddhism, where the Buddha told Ananda that friendships with "admirable people" is not half of holy life, but the whole of holy life. Over time, however, I found the humorous apocryphal version to be deeply insightful. There are at least two components to one's spiritual practice, Wisdom and Compassion, and associating with people, especially in difficult situations, helps us grow Compassion. Therefore, you probably cannot live a holy life without associating with people.

I have found three practices to be extremely useful in helping me deal with people. Read more

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