I have written how, in a meditation many years ago, I saw the image of myself as a smiling toddler and new that that was my true Buddha self, my unwounded heart. I have written about how when I conjure up the image of that toddler and feel him holding my hand, I smile beneficently at the world.
I have also written about how several years ago, I came upon the realization that I had the power to change how I experienced life by changing my energy flow. All my life I had been receiving and reacting to the negative energy that surrounded me. But I had the power to let the positive energy inside my heart flow outward, saying “hello” in my mind to everything, creating in effect a forcefield around me that negativity couldn’t penetrate. See my post, “Change Your Life by Changing the Direction of the Energy Flow.”
In my recent meditation, when I recited my mantra, I realized that the way to see things through the eyes of my unwounded heart, to see things through the eyes of that smiling toddler was by saying “hello” in my mind to everything and everyone. Having a healthy curiosity and no negativity regarding anything. Changing the energy flow. I finally connected the dots.
When I was living in New York City, I used to frequently, without thought, practice saying “hello” in my mind to those around me, especially in the subway. And it turned a negative experience into a positive one. I felt radiant when I implemented that practice. And sometimes, people would even smile back at me.
Why does it have that effect? I read a teaching recently that we should create or see our consciousness in all other beings and things, whether plants and animals or even inanimate objects. Certainly the same holds true for other people. When I would say “hello” in my mind to others, I saw my consciousness in them, and so saw them as smiling toddlers; suddenly their sour or depressed faces turned into a big smile in my mind.
I’m aware that since leaving New York I haven’t done this practice often. I think it’s because in New York I was living in a very antagonistic environment, and my saying “hello” to everyone was a defensive act. Since leaving New York, I have not been in an antagonistic environment and so I felt no need to perform this practice.
It is proof of the Buddhist saying that every challenge is an opportunity for growth. When I was faced by the challenge of living in New York, I grew. When that challenge was removed, I lapsed into complacency.
As a result, I have not had that radiant feeling for quite some time. But now I have formed the intent to implement this practice again, every day. At first it will be purposeful, but in time it will become my default way of relating to everything around me, just like the smiling toddler.