Loving Your Enemies
The Loving-Kindness (Mettā) Meditation in Buddhism
as a way of Practicing Process Theology
see also What if Kindness is the Only True Religion? and Can a Christian be a Buddhist, Too?
Renewing the Mind
The Limitless Heart
Loving your Enemies
God the Bodhisattva
In moments of kindness we dwell in the likeness of a sky-like Mind in whose image we are made and whose heart is as wide as the ocean. This sky-like Mind is God, the cosmic Bodhisattva in whose life we live and move and have our being. At least this is how process-relational panentheists see things. For them -- for us -- God and the Universe dwell in mutual relation and neither is complete without the other. God is the cosmic lure toward novelty and also the deep listening who shares in the sufferings and joys of all creatures; and finite creatures are the entities whose sufferings and joys are shared by God, giving God something to love. Both have agency or "creativity" of a kind, which means that neither God nor the universe fully control one another. There are things that happen in the universe that God cannot prevent; and there is a steadfast love in God, a grace, that no amount of worldly resistance can overcome. In these ways God transcends the universe and the universe also transcends God. And yet both are also immanent within each other. The universe is immanent within God as the subject of God's infinite love, present within God as an embryo to a womb; and God is immanent within universe as a lure toward novelty and, in human life, love. When our minds are renewed by this lure, we become like a mother who would risk her life to her life to protect her child, and whose heart reaches out to all with radiant kindness. We seek to become, like God, Bodhisattvas whose heart will not rest content until all sentient beings are saved from sufferiing.
How can such insight becoming abiding light in daily life? Perhaps the Metta Meditation of Buddhism can help us to dwell in the likeness. It is a form of mind-training or consciousness-cultivation, inviting us to envision in our mind's eye people we love, people to whom we might otherwise be indifferent, and people we might otherwise hate, and will their well-being. This practice is one example, and not the only example, of a Fat Soul spiritual practice. There are many others; Patricia Adams Farmer's offers some more in Fat Soul, Happy Soul: A Soul Fattening Exercise. Still, one way or another, we need our practices. Buddhism, with its many practices of meditation, can help. Below you will find some readings that can inspire or inform the practice and also a "guided meditation" by the Jewish Buddhist thinkers, Sylvia Boorstein, that can give you a taste of it.
-- Jay McDaniel
Loving-kindness as Willingness not Willfulness
The Deepest Process: Eros and Empathy
Metta Sutta: The Buddha's Words on Loving-kindness
The Religion of Loving-kindness
The Fat Soul