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Meditation Monday - Week 3 - "Understanding is the Essence of Love"

I'm now on Week 3 of my 20 week meditation series inspired by Marc and Angel's 20 Things to Stop Doing to Others.

I got a little behind, so I'm posting a day late, but I am glad I've committed myself to this practice.

I realized during last week's focus, "Stop Complaining," that Week 2 was particularly important as a parent, since children often reflect their parents' traits back to them. (If you yell, your children will yell. If you eat junk, your children will eat junk. Likewise, if you read, your children will want to read. If you demonstrate kindness, your children will also). Complaining as parents often gets reflected back to us with children who whine. So, the importance of week 2 for me, as a mom of a toddler and baby, is clear, and I definitely find myself with a lot of incentive to carry that one forward.

If Week 2 was about the kiddos, Week 3 is about the spouse, the life partner, the best friends. #3 on Marc and Angel's list is "Stop Meaning What You Don't Say." They remind us: "People can't read minds. Communicate regularly and effectively."

I think often with our spouses, we expect them to read our minds and may get upset with them for not meeting a need, even though we actually haven't made that need clear. 

I know I have been guilty of this. With this week's meditation, I must remind myself that it is unfair to my loved one to hold him accountable for something if I am not communicating clearly and effectively what I need. I will focus on honesty and openness with my spouse (and with others in my life). I will make sure I am communicating with others in a way that is clear and true. 

This week's chapter from Thich Nhat Hanh's book, True Love, is chapter 1, which outlines the Four Aspects of Love: maitri (loving-kindness or benevolence), karuna (compassion), mudita (joy), and upeksha (equanimity or freedom). With all of these aspects, understanding comes through as important. TNH stresses that "understanding is the essence of love." 

When I look at this photo, I see love.

Understanding is only possible when we communicate effectively with one another. We must practice deep listening, attentiveness and observation -- with ourselves, so we can communicate effectively, and with those we love, so we can truly hear their needs. 


  1. I love this Jenni. What a great spiritual project! Totally agree with you about the reflection part. I've definitely learned that if I think I perceive a problem with Mannie's behaviour, then the first place to look is at my own.....Of course, I'm good at the theory. Not always so ood at the practice! Hope you and your gorgeous boys (all three of them) are in fine form. Sarah xx


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