“When we start to meditate or work with any kind of spiritual discipline, we often think that somehow we’re going to improve, which is a subtle aggression against who we really are. It’s a bit like saying, “If I jog, I’ll be a much better person.” “If I had a nicer house, I’d be a better person.” “If I could meditate and calm down, I’d be a better person.” Or the scenario may be that we find fault with others. We migh say, “If it weren’t for my partner, I’d have the perfect marriage.” “If it weren’t for the fact that my boss and I can’t get on, my job would be just great.” And, if it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent.”
But loving-kindness – maitri – toward ourselves doesnt mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy, we can still be angry. We can still be timid and full of feelings of unworthiness. Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.
Curiosity involves being gentle, precise, open – actually being able to let go and open. Gentleness is a sense of goodheartedness toward ourselves. Precision is being able to see clearly, seeing what’s really there. Openness is being able to let go, and open. When you come to have this kind of honesty, gentleness, and good-heartedness, combined with clarity about yourself, there’s no obstacle to feeling loving kindness for yourself, and others as well.”