Sunday April 2nd - Week 1 - Loving-Kindness
Questions for Reflection
We will lead with an introduction by Sandy explaining the counting of the omer and the game plan we will follow each week. Then we will focus first on loving-kindness.
Initially, we will ask: briefly, what do you think loving-kindness means? Relying on our faith tradition, sacred sources, and/or other thoughts and values, what does love ask of us in our relationships with ourselves and others. And why is it important?
I. The first area we will explore will be the loving-kindness of loving-kindness. What other interests or problems get in the way of loving-kindness? Do we allow full room for others, and loving them? On the other hand, how and why might people over-do, and for what reasons? How does that limit love? What keeps us from showing love to strangers, and what's the right standard for such love?
II. Next we'll look at the discipline of loving-kindness. Does love sometimes require a strength and discipline that is not soft but a bit distant? How and why? Can "love" sometimes be more selfish than respectful? Can "love" be more an extension of self than for the true benefit of the other? Can love "flood the field," if undisciplined?
III. Next we'll look at the harmony or compassion of loving/kindness. Must love include empathy and compassion? If so, why? Can love be diminished by too much of an expectation of reciprocity?
IV. Next we'll look at the endurance of love. To what extent can and must love withstand challenges and setbacks? Illustrate such challenges. How does the lover or the giver of loving-kindness overcome such challenges and fight for the love he/she has? What sort of spirit or valor must the lover develop and manifest in order for love to endure?
V. Next we'll look at the humility of love. Must a lover be able to forgive or bend or compromise with the beloved? Easier said than done, right? What keeps us from doing this? How does one do this? From what sources and in what ways does one learn how?
VI. Next we'll look at the bonding of love. What bonds one with another in love and showing loving-kindness? What are the benefits of bonding? How does such bonding occur?
VII. Finally, we'll look at the dignity or "sovereignty-building" of love. What dignity must one bring to loving and showing loving kindness, and what dignity does doing so create in the one who loves? What's deficient in love that doesn't involve increased dignity in both the one who loves and the one who is loved?