The most difficult person I live with is my mom. She is dissatisfied with her life. Highly sentimental and reactive. She has high expectations from her children in the future. Her rest of the time flies away in crying about the past.
More than being difficult towards others, I saw she was suffering too much. She didn’t need arguments and punishments. Her anger and irritation were one of my biggest guide in life. The constant attachments with people, things and the consequent Heartbreak’s taught me we are our own best friend. When we are joint within, we needn’t rely on others. Her nature made me reflect on my own difficult reactions at time. It also made me realise that such suffering can be lessened if we began loving and caring for our own. Then, when we understand our challenges, we will be able to universalize it. Our affection like maitri in buddhism will be inclusive, without much expectations. I have been able to feel love for even strangers at times. It requires practice.
For practicing maitri, we can start with loving ourselves by *chanting on these words intently. We can later expand it to all beings including our enemies.
It can be accompanied with deep breathing. I am beginning to understand suffering of others. Their reactions is a call for help not the stick.
* The chant is borrowed from ‘ Heart of Peace’ by Joseph Goldstein.