One of the meditations I present in my forthcoming book, Growing in Love and Wisdom, is titled The Kindness of Others. As are the other meditations in the book, it is adapted from a Tibetan Buddhist analytical meditation I learned during my years as a Buddhist.
The meditation on recognizing the kindness of others is premised on the idea that reflecting on the kindness shown us by others can help us develop a universal love and compassion that generates in us the desire to work for more than our own happiness.
Tibetan Buddhists use the mother as the primary object of meditation because the love of a mother for her child is viewed as a key way to understand and to generate universal compassion and loving kindness. The idea is to take the loving and grateful response that spontaneously arises toward this person, who has shown us such unconditional love and cared for us so solicitously, and extend it to all beings.
Just as Tibetan Buddhists view the love of a mother for her child as possessing particular significance, motherly love has a special place for Christians. We have numerous Biblical images of God as mother, as in Isaiah, where God promises that “as one whom a mother comforts, so I will comfort you.” (Is 66:13) We have the image of Mary, Christ’s mother, as our mother and we see numerous artistic representations of Mary cradling the baby Jesus or supporting the crucified Jesus. Oscar Romero observed that, “Mothers are like the sacrament of God’s love. The Arabs say that God, who we are unable to see, created the mother who we are able to see—and in all mothers we see God, we see love, we see tenderness.”
On this Mothers Day, we give special thanks for the love of our mothers. I pray that reflecting on the love we have been shown by our mothers, and all who have cared for us, may help us deepen our own love and compassion for others.