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Feel Close: A Story of Strangers by A. Synenko
 

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  • Today I am angry at someone. I've learnt the things I should do in order to counter this anger with love, turning away from the hurt and move towards ideas of forgiveness, compassion, understanding.

    "We all suffer."

    Fundamental to my personal beliefs. We all suffer and we all deserve compassion. We all suffer and therefore can see the suffering in others. And that juggernaut: We all know suffering so we can know joy.

    I know that I should be thinking: "I will forgive and I will try to be compassionate..." Even with the knife in my heart, I want to add. But, I don't doubt I'll get there. I've done it before and the lessons have been miraculous--but honestly, give me another day. I'm really pissed.

    I sometimes attend a temple in my neighbourhood. It is one of those urban delights you don't want to tell too many about, a secret the city offers up once in a while, just for you, it seems. It is a Buddhist Temple, ten minutes away from where I am staying.

    One time, last month, a tiny woman of about sixty, named Rose, a student-monk, did the lunchtime meditation. There was perhaps five of us in attendance. We meditated and then Rose gave a lesson.

    She spoke of how when approaching strangers, there are three general ways to confront them: Recognize they are undoubtably loved by someone. That they, in turn, are capable of loving others. And: Through the fog of anger, impatience or ambivalence, we can work through the ego-state to offer up unconditional compassion.

    Rose said a wiser monk she once knew, had the practise, as strangers passed him by, preoccupied by whatever drama was afflicting them, to offer each a small silent meditation:

    "Warm heart. Feel close."

    Repeat.
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