“Be there for others, but never leave yourself behind” – Dodinsky
Last week I shared a Loving Kindness Meditation on my Social Media Accounts. This beautifully compassionate meditation asks us to show loving kindness to everyone in the world, including people that annoy us, hurt us and those we’ve never even met. On my first recording of the meditation, however, I realised that I had forgotten to ask for loving kindness to ourselves!
This is sadly something that is all too easy for many of us to do… to forget to take care of ourselves, to forget to love ourselves and ultimately to forget our True Selves.
I would like to share with you all a story, “The Tenth Man” (extracted from the book “This Dance of Bliss” by Ivan Granger) that shows us that perspective and awareness is so important. The eye is capable of seeing everything but itself…
“A wise guru lived with ten disciples, all young men from the same village across the river. A festival time drew near, and the disciples sought their guru’s permission to cross the river and celebrate with their families. The guru decided to test his disciples. He claimed that he was unable to accompany them because he had to leave immediately on an important errand but, after a show of reluctance, he gave his consent for them to travel to their home village.
As the ten young men crossed the river in their small boat, a terrible storm rose up. The boat was overturned, and they were tossed into the river. As they separately scrambled to shore, wet and coughing, they regrouped to make sure everyone was safe. The eldest of the group assumed the role of leader and lined everyone up in order to count them: “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight… nine.” He only counted nine, forgetting to count himself.
The young men were frantic. They reorganized their line and their leader counted again, but again he counted only nine. They tried several times, and each time only counted nine. The disciples began to cry out for help as they ran along the shore hoping to save their lost friend. Unbeknownst to the young men, their guru had secretly crossed the river ahead of them and had witnessed the entire scene from his hiding place. When he emerged and approached his distraught students, they threw themselves at their guru’s feet crying over their drowned brother.
To their shock, their guru laughed and informed them that the tenth man was alive. Further, he told them that, through his great siddhi powers, he would return the missing disciple. In fact, the lost youth would magically appear in their very midst. Desperate, they asked for their guru’s help to save their friend.
The guru had them line up once again, with the eldest of the young men at the end. Their teacher went down the line and, as he counted aloud, he gave each a slap on the chest to remove all doubt that each had been counted once and only once. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine…” and coming at last to the group’s leader, the guru exclaimed with a final whack, “Ten!” Astonished and relieved, the disciples shouted with joy. “We are reunited!” they exclaimed. “Our guru truly is a great siddha!” Between bouts of laughter, their guru explained what had happened, that the tenth man had never drowned and had always been with them. Their young leader had forgotten to count himself.”
(Traditional Hindu Adviata Story)
Whilst it’s important to show kindness to others, we must never forget ourselves. Repeat after me – “I am here, I am whole, I am love.”