“The Jack Practice”
Some of you may know about my obsession with my dog Jack. It’s nothing short of complete attachment. Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s not healthy to be attached to anything. Well, tough shit, cuz I am! Now, I do realize my lil soul mate will one day die, he will no longer bless us with his physical presence, but his soul will hang with us for lifetimes! I actually meditate on his death as a way to accept the impermanence of all things.
But impermanence and attachment are not todays theme, LOVE is!
So here’s a practice that I try to do to cultivate Love. I think about how much joy and happiness, how much warmth and affection my lil Jack brings into my life. I think about what it feels like in his presence and how my heart is filled with unconditional love for him. Now its important to remember that Love is abundant. It isn’ limited in anyway to anyone. So if Love is abundant in the way I feel it with Jack, there is enough of that unconditional love for me to feel for everyone and everything.
This is not an easy practice!
What you do next is take that feeling of love for Jack (this is where you fill in the blank. Think of someone or something that brings you to tears with unconditional love) and start to spread it around to your family and friends (take note, my love for Jack does not supersede my wife, my parents, my teachers or my friends, he’s just and easy and cute example. I don’t believe there is a quantifiable way to measure love).
Then spread it to the people you see. I send it to my yoga students, strangers on the street in cars passing by, to people across the globe. To birds, flowers and trees. Then I narrow in on people who are suffering and are going through tough times.
Next think of someone who you don’t necessarily “like”, or who has done you “wrong” (a side note here. These people tend to be the most important people. Mirrors of our not so positive behavior, teachers that offer us lessons so we can become a better version of ourselves.) and send them your “Jack Love”.
I know what you’re thinking, “Love that person that stole my credit card???”, “Love that person that ‘flipped’ me off in traffic”, “Love my ex who is a complete asshole???”- YES
If you think that is hard, just wait! This next part will blow your mind.
Send love to the one person in this entire world that needs it from you the most…Y O U!
Love the wrinkles around your eyes, your skinny legs, you’re awkward smile, your terrible singing voice. Love your embarrassing past- including all the righteous opinions, beliefs, and ideas you so strongly held on to. Love every time you got jealous of someone because you didn’t realize you are just as amazing as them. Love the mean, rude, and selfish actions you made in your past because those are the lessons that make you a kinder person today.
Love yourself like you are that furry lil puppy that licks away your tears of sadness and joy!
I Love you all like you were Jack!