Rachel hadn't deepened her relationship with this man because she owed him something, or felt obliged by a favor he'd done. She didn't know the particulars of his life, his challenges or his sorrows. Rachel came to care genuinely for the dry cleaner simply because she'd begun including him in the attentiveness of her heart. By doing so, she awakened to the humanity of someone who'd barely registered before.
The practice of lovingkindness meditation brings to life our innate capacity for connecting to ourselves and others. The lovingkindness we cultivate breaks thorugh the habit of indifference or judgment that keeps us feeling separate from others. A capacity for friendship and kindness exists within each of us, without exception. No matter what pain we might have gone through in our lives, that capacity is never destroyed. It may be—and often is—obscured, but it's there.
The key to uncovering this potential is paying attention in a positive way. So often we don't have the time or the patience to take an interest in people; instead we look around them or right through them. Being attentive to someone opens the door to discovering who she or he actually is. Like Rachel, we find that the people we relate to at work, at school, while doing errands no longer seem so much like strangers. Something happens to our world, and we don't feel so alone.
Start practicing lovingkindness meditation