Summary: The meditation class asks Sathi about different situations dealing with teenagers and family based on the Metta Meditation.
For example, if there is a conflict, who has the expectations? Just you. You are the one who is carrying the expectations. Now, who is failing to meet those expectations? Them.
Sathi talks about expectations. You are having the expectations. They are failing to keep those expectations. You can see how imbalanced the situation is. Who is wrong? It is you. Because you are the one who is carrying the expectations.
Sathi also discusses not being “nice” all the time, but instead, the responsibility of having Metta and being a Noble Friend.
[Sathi] Think about [the phrase], “May you be well, happy, skillful, and peaceful”. When you think about these four intentions it is an interpretation of somebody. The only influence we have is how to keep your mind well. Not really your body. Your body might be going through some kind of difficulty or challenge, but what is happening to your mind when it is not well?
When your mind is not well, everything collapses. Your body, your environment, and your surroundings. So, that is where we recognize having a healthy mind [and] encouraging us to maintain it.
What is taking that wellness away? It is our engagement with something outside, something unnecessary. Unnecessary engagement. The person, who is practicing Metta, is recognizing that this is a skill that everybody can cultivate, [a skill] that everybody can have. The main idea is that you are expecting them to have such a skill.
For example, do we allow people to be who they are? No, we don’t. Ideally, we do. But, whenever they act against our way of thinking, we fight. We tell them, “You are wrong.”
So, when you come to your family, that is the strongest place you can see clearly. Regardless of who they are you want them to be well. But, you struggle when you see them struggle. You fight when they go opposite of Life. When they are going toward the challenge, you struggle. That’s the place where you need to be healed most, with the [relations with] family. Because that is the place where you have strong connections.
For some people, they say their strength is family. At the same time, you can see that your weakness is also family. You become helpless with some family matters. But, if you can bring this open mind, and allow them to be who they are, then, first, you are protecting yourself by allowing them to be themselves. Because, by knowing that they are human beings, I can only [inaudible] a little bit, not all the way.
As a person who is protected, the next step would be that you are trying to do what you are trying to do. As an example, think about the medical professions. When they get patients, first of all, they protect themselves before they treat their patients. Then, when they are protected, they can really engage and help them out.
But, think about us. When we are engaging with family matters, do you have enough protection when you engage with them [your family]?[Meditator] So, my question is how do you protect yourself? [Sathi] By knowing your weakness is number one. If you go back to the medical profession, they know that if they are exposed to this contagious situation, they will become sick. What do they do? By knowing the weakness, they protect themselves first, before they approach the people [who are sick]. Same theory, if we have this blind confidence, that nothing is going to happen to ourselves, “My way is the right way.” So, you can see yourself, that blindness really makes you weak. By thinking, “My way of thinking is the only way.” that is a weakness.
And also, there is another weakness we have, let me find a single word to explain it to describe it. Sometimes we are trying to be nice. But, the way of the niceness allows other people to run into trouble. By saying, “Oh, that is not my job. You can do whatever you want.”
Just think, if you know that eating sugar is bad for certain people who have diabetes. If you happen to say, “You can eat whatever you want. It is up to you. I know you have diabetes, but it is up to you.” What does this mean? It means that you are supporting their weakness. As a person who has Metta, you have a certain responsibility that comes [with having] Metta. This is you are being a Noble Friend to another person. You don’t encourage wrong or weak action.
You are giving them energy and support for what they are supposed to do. You are not comforting their emotions. To have a good picture, we are comforting their emotions. But, if you know, this is really good, like, another example, for a medical reason, somebody needs to work out at least five times a week. Then, what is your job if you are somebody who loves that person? You should encourage that person to do that five times a week. By knowing this is reshaping themselves.
Another example. The doctor has prescribed medication for five days. You know that missing taking the medication for one day and how much effect that has on their body. I would say this is similar to our meditation practice. It is reshaping our mind. It is supporting us to grow ourselves. But life is always demanding and [bringing up] emotions, excuses. We easily get caught up with excuses and giving power into that. But, by knowing that life is uncertain, as a Noble Friend, what are we supposed to do but encourage our family and friends to keep practicing [meditation] with frequent practice.[Meditator] How do you do that? [Sathi] You do it just like a person who is taking medication. Think about families where they push the medication. I know in some situations, some family members, they mix the medication with the food. Think about giving medications to a kid. They don’t like medications. What do the parents do? They’ll trick. They mix the medications in with something else. Giving it to [their children] knowing. [Meditator] There’s such a difference between holding someone accountable. There are so many ways one can hold someone accountable. My experiences include nagging, angry, judgmental, or I can be firm and loving and clear and really letting go of outcomes. Making a stand for someone. It is so different. Who I am being. [Another Meditator] I had my grandkids. I was taking care of them. They are teenage boys. I feel very little control over the patterns they have already established. I knew the younger one was struggling because his friends couldn’t meet with him. So, he turned toward video games and locked himself into his room.
I’m trying to get into his room, and he wouldn’t let me in. So, I’m distraught and try to allow it. But, I wake up in the middle of the night and I feel like I’m hearing him cry. And, I still can’t get in the room. So it’s just like this… talk about emotions taking over. And it is a pattern that I’m watching. I can’t do much about it. I also know they are struggling with the father having more alcohol. And, trying to stop that. I’m just, all I could do yesterday was take over some healthy food and bring it to them. But, when you see some of these young and they don’t have a way to advocate for themselves, it’s horribly [inaudible].[Sathi] Well, think about this. I see that there are a few things we should understand in this situation. Number one, we have to recognize our [own] expectations. We are expecting them to understand certain things that they are not capable of understanding.
We are having that expectation based on what? Based on our past experience, or based on their age, or based on their size of their body. But, don’t you think there are some babies living in big bodies?
If it is an infant, how do you do [respond]? Sometimes, they act that way. So, that’s one thing.
The second situation is, nobody is perfect. Therefore, you can only do your best. Let go of your emotional expectations, and think “What is the best I can do for this person? How much can I do?” We cannot do everything in the world. We cannot do everything for another person. But, the [important thing] is [asking], “Am I doing enough within my capacity? Do I know what my capacity is?”[Meditator] All a sudden I was over the line. All a sudden it caught up with me. Whew! [Sathi] That’s the trouble. If you go over the line you are going to suffer and the other person is going to suffer too. But, again, the line has to be drawn [established] by their comfort? By your comfort? No. The line has to be established without bringing in any personal measurements.
Most of the time we draw a line because we want to be nice all of the time. That’s the nice way of drawing the line. You have to think, “What is the best I can do for this person under any conditions?”
It’s okay to be a bad person sometimes. Think about parents and what they do for their young kids. But, they forget, and do the same thing when [the kids] have grown. Because, when they are grown-up you want to keep their likeness. You want to be nice. And also, because of that, you struggle.
It is very important to ask yourself and check with yourself. Sometimes we are doing things because of ourselves. Therefore, you need to ask yourself, “Am I doing this for me or for that person?”
A perfect example, when you want to tell your daughter, are you doing it for you or for her? Or, for your grandkids. Mostly, it is for you. That is where the trouble is. Because we still need to take care of ourselves.[Meditator] So then, taking care of me, is always a problem. Coming back to that hearing my voice, being in touch of taking good care. What, where, why? Why is that so hard? [Sathi] Well it is not hard. It becomes hard when we keep these false expectations. Because expectations are against Nature, against reality. That is why it is becoming hard. If you can try to take care of yourself without bringing in any expectations, or by seeing what is going on, by seeing the reality, then it is not hard.
Just think about when you talk about other people, family, grandkids. You have certain expectations for them. If they are going to school, you want them to do their best in school. The best grades. No trouble. No other issues. Like you don’t want your kids or grandkids to cry. You don’t want to see them struggle.
Now, who has those expectations? Just you. You are the one who is carrying the expectations. Now, who is failing to meet those expectations? Them.
You are having the expectations. They are failing to keep those expectations. You can see how imbalanced the situation is. Who is wrong? It is you. Because you are the one who is carrying the expectations.[Meditator] One thing I learned is that it always comes back to you. [Laughing] [Another Meditator] Why the emphasis in the Metta Meditation Practice, about not avoiding obstacles, avoiding problems? That feels like a lot of expectations for myself and everyone in the world. How does that reconcile with what you just said?
In the Metta Practice, they have this whole thing about not having any problems, no obstacles, come to them, that’s full of expectations. [group laughter] [Sathi] Yup. Yup. This is what is happening during the practice. We recognize you have your own obstacles and troubles that come to you. Right? So, that way you are giving yourself full support to overcome all of the challenges that come your way. That is the wishes [intentions] you have for yourself.
Then, you have the same wishes for others.
Now, when you think about your family. And, somebody’s struggles, you see it as “That’s Life.” But, when it comes to you, you don’t call it Life. When something happens to outsiders, outside of your family, “Oh, that’s Life. That’s the world. That’s Nature.” But, when it happens to you, you don’t see it [the same way].
You are trying to recognize other people equal to yourself. Even though there are a bunch of words and expectations in everything, it helps to place yourself back into reality.
There are two things that are happening [with the Metta Meditation Practice]. You are trying to recognize other people equal to you [being the same as yourself]. At the same time, you are trying to recognize you equal to other living beings [being the same at them]. That’s how you are supporting your insight to grow by seeing all living beings equal to yourself.
Okay, I think this has been a good conversation and let’s continue this with tea and a treat. Thank you very much for being here.
Recorded on March 8, 2020, at the Meditation Center in Chaska, Minnesota.
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