If we begin with even the smallest amount of tenderness, and stay with it, and allow it to increase, eventually it will include all living beings…
We can begin with kindness towards ourselves, as we are closest to our own experience, and it can be immediate, and intimate. This self-care is then onwards leading, without our having to add anything to it. We learn what it is to feel, to want, to struggle and suffer, mostly in the dark about causes and the solutions to our problems, and if we stay with it, gradually the day breaks for us. If instead we had turned away, or hardened ourselves for any reason, out of doubt, or self denigration, not knowing our own worth, we will have missed the new beginnings.
Something so small, so common as tenderness, holds wonders within it. It is truly the tathagata garbha – the womb of the tathagatas – the Buddhas, or the Awakened Ones. Our care for ourselves and those closest to us opens us to the deep truth of about our being here together – that we are made for each other, and that we find fulfillment in this life of clear understanding and universal love and compassion.
Some would say you need to enter the main road to make it to the great kingdom of universal love. Some insist there is only one way. Too often though we exclude or deprecate the precious self care that is the seed of our understanding, and greater love.
The beginning and the full result of an undertaking often look very different. Have you noticed? Just as a tiny seed planted in a field looks nothing like the harvest, attention given to the sweet, gentle, healing care we can offer to ourselves and to those closest to us portends a greater, all embracing life, one that is itself light, joy, and giving.