I breached my Spiritual Books fast today. When I got home from work, I felt uber-shitty. I felt separate and disconnected. I was angry at a few people and a couple of situations. I felt negatively influenced by outside forces.
So I sought solace in one of my favorite places: a book. And it turned out to be exactly what I needed to hear. I will return to the fast tomorrow. But today I have been blessed by the words of a saint.
Read this, memorize this, tattoo it on your forehead. I present to you the Buddha's teaching on love (the Metta Sutta):
He or she who wants to attain peace should practice being upright, humble, and capable of using loving speech. He or she will know how to live simply and happily, with senses calmed, without being covetous and carried away by the emotions of the majority. Let him or her not do anything that will be disapproved of by the wise ones.
And this is what he or she contemplates:
"May everyone be happy and safe, and may their hearts be filled with joy.
"May all living beings live in security and peace- beings who are frail or strong, tall or short, big or small, visible or not visible, near or far away, already born or yet to be born. May all of them dwell in perfect tranquility.
"Let no one do harm to anyone. Let no one put the life of anyone in danger. Let no one, out of anger or ill will, wish anyone any harm.
"Just as a mother loves and protects her only child at the risk of her own life, we should cultivate boundless love to offer to all living beings in the entire cosmos. We should let our boundless love pervade the whole universe, above, below and across. Our love will know no obstacles, our heart will be absolutely free from hatred and enmity. Whether standing or walking, sitting or lying, as long as we are awake, we should maintain this mindfulness of love in our own heart. This is the noblest way of living.
"Free from wrong views, greed and sensual desires, living in beauty and realizing perfect understanding, those who practice boundless love will certainly transcend birth and death."
(translation/interpretation by Thich Naht Hanh, emphasis mine)