Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Mindful Monday: Loving Kindness … An Unexpected Lesson

On Mindful Monday, my readers and I practice the art of pausing, TRYING to be still, or considering, ever so briefly, the big picture. We’re hoping this soul time will provide enough peace of mind to get us through the week!
Fellow blogger John McManamy is a prolific writer who openly refers to his spirituality, but in a quiet way. The other day, I happened to innocently ask how his journey began, and suddenly he opened up. Here is what he wrote me, published here in full with his permission:
Many thanks for asking me, Therese.
Twenty-one years ago, I was living in Melbourne, Australia. I had recently moved there from New Zealand. It’s pretty hard to recall the order of events, because, basically, I was out of my mind. Or, if I were in my mind, my mind was not a very pleasant place to be in.
I had moved to Melbourne to take up a position as a feature business writer on a daily paper there. I loved the job and the people, but six months later I flipped into mixed mania and quit in a huff, thus cutting myself off from everyone I knew. It was everyone else’s fault, of course. Couldn’t they see that?
My combination of rage and despair and grandiosity stoked a selfish spiritual quest. Basically, I wanted the powers of a mystic – such as to be able to float out of my body – without accepting my responsibilities as a human, such as being able to stay centered in my body.
All I needed was a revelation, but the revelation never came.
By this time, I had read a number of books on Tibet and Buddhism. There was a Tibetan Buddhist center in the area. I decided to check it out.
A lama, through a translator, started talking about “bodhicitta,” loving kindness. Maybe this was the prerequisite to learning to float out of my body, I thought. I’d better pay attention.
The lama asked us to do a little meditation.
Picture someone you really care about, he said. Easy. An immediate past girlfriend came to mind.
Feel the love, he continued, or words to that effect. Not hard either. Well, the two of us had issues, but for an exercise like this I didn’t have much of a problem turning on the unconditional love. Well, a bit of a problem, and there was a bit of conditional to the unconditional, but with a bit of effort I got it going.
Now picture someone neutral, he said, and once more feel the love. Actually, this was fairly easy, as I treated this part of the exercise as a hypothetical. Here you go – hypothetical unconditional love.
I opened my eyes in anticipation of the end of the meditation, but, no, the lama had one more visualization up his sleeve.
Picture someone who is giving you a hard time, he said. Ha! No problem. The no good bastard! Wait till I get my hands on him! Should I run him off the road? No, I’d have to get my license first. A baseball bat to the head, then. No, this was Australia. It would have to be a cricket bat …
Honest to God, there was no way I could anticipate the next part of the meditation. The bastard had it coming. Simple as that. No doubt the lama could read my mind. He’d have to agree with me. Just get this a-hole out of my life – okay, and maybe 10 others, make that 20 others – and I could be the king of loving kindness.
I’d make the lama proud. Here it comes …
Picture all three people in your mind, he said, and feel the same loving kindness for all three.
And that’s when the revelation came.
Suddenly, I realized I had way more hate in me than love. Serious hate. We were talking a drop of love to an ocean of hate. Even I had to know there was something drastically wrong with that. Even I knew that the gig was up. I couldn’t go on living this way. I had work to do.


I didn’t exactly find what I was looking for, yet I found everything I was looking for. That’s the way it is with the spiritual quest. The quest wasn’t about me acquiring mystical superpowers. It was about me being able to live within myself, at ease, instead of in a constant state of war with my mind.
In case you’re wondering, after 21 years I flunk that little meditation every time. I can live with that. Life, after all, is a work-in-progress, but I think I’ve got my priorities right, things such as working on not harboring hate, rushing to judgment, or demonizing people I don’t get along with.
Life is also about working on extending the range of my compassion, making an effort to walk in the shoes of others, doing things for others without expecting anything in return.
Basic Christian teachings I grew up with, but I needed an assist from a Buddhist lama to drive it home. I suppose a Christian would teach that I will find my reward in Heaven. Trust me, I found mine here on earth.
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  • Liz

    You have to stop citing It’s a pharma-promoting time bomb waiting to explode.
    See: , especially the comments.
    The stories are interesting, but they are bait to drag people into so they can see the drug ads plastered all over the site.

  • John McManamy

    Hi, Liz. I think you are confusing John Grohol with me. For the record, I am not John Grohol. Now that we have clarified the identity issue, I cordially invite you to assess this blog post for its content.

  • Mike

    That’s presuming that Liz had any intention to pay attention to your post (which I found rather helpful). As a veteran of flame wars on Usenet and other forums, the inflammatory words she used say “TROLL” to me. I would be very pleased to be found wrong.
    I was particularly intrigued by your comment, “I suppose a Christian would teach that I will find my reward in Heaven. Trust me, I found mine here on earth.” Speaking AS a Christian, I would say that you have found the beginning of your reward. The abundant life Jesus came to bring (see John 10:10) begins in this life as we surrender in trust to Jesus and His ways (including the very teaching your article paraphrased, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27b-28) The reward starts now, to reach its fullest in eternity (WOW! There’s even more and better to come!)
    BTW, I say this not to argue but to add my perspective to yours, hopefully in a way that complements what you had to say. God bless you, friend.

  • John McManamy

    Hi, Mike. Fully in accord. “Love your enemy” is a tough challenge, but on reflection your enemy often turns out to be your friend. I guess that’s where “Judge not …” comes in. We get tested, we don’t always pass. But we work on small improvements that add up to big ones. God bless you, too, my friend.

  • Sonya A

    Self hatred is probably the most understated issue we deal with as human beings until we find Christ!

  • Margaret

    Hi John,
    I’m a fan of Bernie Siegel, M.D. When he talks about Christ saying, ‘love your enemies’, Bernie points out that Christ didn’t say anything about liking them. That has helped me, since it’s just about impossible to go through life, without someone aggravating us.
    You and Therese make a good team.

  • Your Name

    I started out the first part of my life with almost all friends, lots of them, and hardly an enemy.
    The mid part of my life, my husband was my lover and my enemy, constantly fighting me on issues we didn’t agree on that made for a tough time. We stuck it out. I slowly eliminated “friends” from my life because my issues at home were too consuming and it seemed nobody understood nor wanted to hear about them. People and family seemed to be for parties only (not my idea, theirs).
    Now in the early part of my later years, a mysterious person has entered my life challenging my peace, my freedom, my peace of mind. He has worked full time at humilating me and getting people to lie to me. It is something I cannot comprehend, nor has God given me the answers I have asked for a long time. I am filled with disappointment in human nature, anger, and disgust. I find it hard to be loving and forgive when I don’t have the answers and someone expects me to treat them as the God they think they are. I know this may sound confusing to most or all of you, but it is as clear as I can describe the hell someone has put me through at a time when I have needed to recoup from my childrens’ illnesses, my own personal losses, and look to my own personal future, not what someone else has designed for me. I do not berate myself but find it hard to want to make new friends and be nice to people when they continue to hurt me. I know God understands and accepts this because He seems just as confused since he has not been able to provide answers or solutions yet. La de dah, love one another, be forgiving, etc. Sometimes, one has to be ready to forgive. Right now I am asking God for answers why, and for His justice in this matter. I am content with that for now. It’s hard to be drilled to “love the family” when all they have done is abuse. There are still a few people I love,and that is the best I can do for now.

  • John McManamy

    Hi, Margaret. Love the part about not having to “like” your enemy. :)
    And thanks for the nice compliment about my teaming with Therese. Without doubt, she brings out the best in me.

  • Cat

    I know what you mean. I have found in the past that it was extremely hard to love those who say they love me,but just wind up hurting me, and sometimes in the most devastating way. My life had gotten so bad that I was living in hell. I had crawled up inside my head and only ventured out when I absolutely had to. I wasn’t living life I would just occasionally drop in from time to time. It was awful to just live in that pain, and I had done that for so many years, I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I had a life partner that passed away 2.5 years ago of an accidental overdose at 32. He had so many mental health issues, and was an addictive personality(everything he experienced he was addicted to it. Living with him was the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life, and believe me I have been down many dark roads and back alley’s. Then losing him they way I did almost destroyed me. Then about 7 months ago I got involved with The church again(it started out as something I did for work)but when that assignment was over, I still felt the need to go, and I had to admit the joy I felt while I was there was an incredible draw for me to keep going. I had been first saved when I was 15. When I finally turned myself back over to God,when I finally laid all the anger and the pain and the heartbreak at the foot of that cross, when I finally let go and let God. I felt a tremendous burden lift from me and give me a peace that I hadn’t felt in a long time. The more I pray for my “enemies” and for people who hurt me or talk about me the more peaceful I get.
    Now I am not going to tell you that it isn’t rough,(right now I am in the hospital because I broke my ankle and have had to have two surgeries to get it healed,I am now in a cast and have spent 5 weeks in here and need to spend a bother 12 weeks. I am a single mom to a 5 year old. We have cried many times together,he is with good people while I am in here(my church is the Salvation Army)he is with the soldiers that run the Corps of the local Salvation Army. Amazing Christian, God-loving people,but it is still hard to be apart from each other. Yet I continue to grow in Christianity and I finally have the peace I have sought for a very long time.So when you finally let go and let God amazing things will happen for you. My eyes were opened to all kinds of miracles,and it makes me wonder how many have I missed when I was still blinded by life’s circumstances.
    I just want to say if this 45 year-old woman can be given that inner peace after being down those back alley’s, and the love of Christ after all my horror’s then why not you? I can do all things through Christ who stregthens me!!!!!Amen!!!!!!

  • vivian ona

    I’m glad that there is Beyond Blue. I’ve always felt that I was called to be kind, a natural innate quality in me, but life draws me away from being kind at times. For some time now life has gotten complicated and I feel like I’m struggling to maintain my happiness. I felt ambushed by my partner and in-laws, but the biggest critic was and still is myself. I want to stop the bitterness and the anger because it hurts me and others. i wish I could return to my sweet self but after things have been said and done I now have to learn to forgive, but HOW!!! I am scared of being abused again by them and I find myself on guard and defensive whenever the in-laws are around. I could forgive my partner but I find it hard to forgive his mom and brother because I feel that they have not listened to my feelings. i just wish I could show them that Iam not a mat to be walked on in a peaceful way. Endurance, Jenny, endurance…

  • Your Name

    could you mind if you can help me in my situation because iam a state of confusion with my mind and i dont have where to turn to.iam thinking much and living a deppressed life for some idont know how to get lead of this.yes my problem is this i have been dating this girl for the past two years now and with the plans of getting married to her but unfortunately things have turned sour on me i dont want to lose her because i really love and care much about the thing is she one told me that she doesn’t care about me because of some small misunderstanding we had.
    so advise me how i should handle this.
    gift from zambia.

  • Mike

    Vivian Ona, I have found forgiveness to be one of my harder tasks in life, especially if the other does not apologize. Here’s what I’ve found helps me;
    1) To forgive does not necessarily mean to be reconciled to that person. The other may not want to reconcile, may not want to admit and apologize for what they have done to hurt me. And they don’t have to for me to forgive them. I define forgiveness as “giving up my right to be angry” or “releasing the other person from my anger”. I don’t have to have the other’s apology, contrition, or civility to forgive them. That is something I can do without the other’s permission and if necessary, without their knowledge.
    2) That said, to actually release someone from my anger is often not easy. I don’t have it in myself to forgive someone who has deeply hurt me, especially if they’ve been quite intentional about it. The only thing that helps me to grapple with those feelings (and I find it’s often a process–it doesn’t all happen at once) is to pray Jesus’ prayer of forgiveness from the cross; “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.” That can apply in a number of ways; my bottom line is that sin is a spiritual dynamic. It’s not just doing things that are wrong, it’s a whole complex of mixed motivations that leads us to do wrong. It’s so deep, insidious and pervasive, we can sin against another and against God without realizing just what we’ve done or why we’ve done it. We really DON’T know what we’re doing, even when we think we do. To one extent or another, we’re ALL confused “sick puppies”. So I can pray that prayer about anybody and anything that has been done. Often I end up praying that prayer over and over at many different times before there’s a breakthrough. And there are some people (especially those who are in a place to continue inflicting hurt) and situations that God and I are still working on. But this is the only path that I’ve found that works. “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.”
    Hope this helps.

  • Your Name

    Dear Cat, Thank you for the inspiration and I hope you heal with the ankle soon. I know it is hard being apart from a 5 year old child. They are little angels at that age. I know about living with an addict, my son has been one for 15 years and he lives with us and we can not do too much to help him. Some people say the shelter and food we give him is the wrong way to go, but everyone has to make their own decisions. We have tried many different things and I am just happy he is still alive. He came near death a few times. I was involved with what I thought was a fabulous church about 4 years ago (for 2 years). It took me a while to see the true colors of the pastor and his wife. They asked for money constantly (even written commitments) from the parish so much it got to me. The pastor also lied to me on an important issue that was affecting my life. There were a few other oddities about the church that took time to see, so I eventually left. I miss that feeling of unity and church family but for now I watch a few tv pastors such as Joel Osteen and I get by. I also read the bible. I also have other heartbreaking family issues I am dealing with that I will not go into. I am kind of weary, but hanging in there. I do not apologize for not being like some of the people out there with no arms and legs or sight who work miracles. I applaud their strength, but I am who I am. In 2 years my life might be totally different. I pray every day and I try to do the best I can. It just upsets me that some people think I should be higher up on the ladder than I am. Especially when they have no regard for their own nephew and his agonies, etc. I am around alot of selfish people. I am pleased your church helps you and you are saved. That is wonderful for you and your son. Thank you for sharing your story. I haven’t given up yet. I am just not as forgiving as some others at this time. I accept where I am right now, appreciate helpful encouragement from others, but not being made fun of or shamed. God bless you, Queen

  • Your Name

    Dear gift from Zambia,
    Apparently what to you seems like a small misunderstanding, was a big one to your fiance’. Did she specifically say she does not love you and not want to get married, or is she just angry and needing some time to think about things?
    If it is just a small misunderstanding, then perhaps she is having second thoughts about marriage and using that problem you had as an excuse.
    In any event, if you both think there is something that can be saved here, you should consider getting some pre-marriage counseling to talk about your differences, values, expectations, and more. It won’t hurt. Maybe you need more time together to just get to know one another and enjoy each other. Sometimes the pressure of an upcoming marriage can make for alot of bumps in a relationship. Take it a step and a day at a time, and try not to panic. Do nice things to show her you are sorry and really care. If she has truly changed her mind about you, please get some grief counseling for yourself and know sometimes things aren’t meant to be but there may still be a bright future for you ahead. Hang in there. God bless.

  • Rev.Robert Yarbrough

    In the beginning God created the “Heaven” and the “Earth” Heaven, the Greater fulfilling experience that this life is. Earth, being able to “HATE.”

  • http://Hate Mystery

    Without Hate, we would not appreciate the fullness of love.
    What bothers me most is that some people truly think they love others when they do not.

  • Your Name

    I have learned that expressing the bold truth to someone who has abused you is good; I did that with the hopes that this person will learn not to go on abusing others whom he may become involved with. I’ve learned self respect with boundaries are important and people who have hurt us perhaps do not like it when you say enough to abuse.
    Strong signs are sometimes needed when once gets abused by someone.
    I’m hoping my ex no longer abuses and walks away without any regard.
    I have forgiven him not his actions and have a restored sense of peace in my life, hope for my new future and I hope by his being angry for me sticking up for myself, it gets him to a place where he won’t hurt other innocent people.
    I pray he does some reflecting as if we all self reflect the world would be a much better place.
    I have forgiven him spiritually and it really does in turn release you and give peace. I hope God watches over him and he spreads more good.

  • Rosy

    I love you Big Pappy

  • John McManamy

    Hi, Everyone. Many thanks for sharing your wisdom and insight, as well as what is making your life difficult for you. They say there are no easy answers, but actually the answers are easy: It’s getting to those answers that are hard. That’s the message I’m getting from the sum total of your comments here.
    But I’m also getting from you that this is not about arriving at our final destination. It’s about pointing ourselves in the right general direction and venturing into unfamiliar territory, often losing our way, but learning as we go.
    In my lifelong journey, I am a little bit beyond out of the driveway. Could I be a better person than I am now? Yes, definitely. Am I a better person than I was when I was stuck in my driveway? Again, yes, definitely.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment william

    Imagine for a minute you are so in love with this one girl and you believed that she was also in love, she said yes to your proposer and on your wedding day you catch her having sex with your best friend and still she tells you to your face that she never loved you, and then file for a divorce then move in with your suppose to be best friend.This is all that happen to me.It seem like a story but believe this is my life story.My name is Charle William i am a paramedic and live in Dublin, Ireland.My marriage ought to be the best and i ought to be the proudest man that day but Kelly Cater made a fool out of me.I never thought she would even think of cheating on me on my wedding day with the man i consider to be my best friend.It all happened during our wedding reception.I caught them in the bathroom i would say how but it too embarrassing for me to speak about.I was so mad that i punched the crap out of him but she kept screaming over and over again live him i love him please don’t kill him.Hearing those word was like a knife piercing through my heart i was like you married to me and you tell me that you love him.As i could recall it was our wedding day how can this be happen.She call off the wedding party herself telling ever one that the marriage was over.I was broken not knowing what to do about it.She didn’t stop seeing him,i could not imagine the girl who was so excited about getting married could just walk out of one like that without thinking twice about it and to make things worse she hooked up with my best friend.All this was all i could think of but still, i was madly in love with a girl who cheated on me with my best friend.I had scarified too much to let go, i was not going to let Joe that is my suppose to be best friend to make a fool out of me.She refused to have contact with me i don’t know why and that made my plan even harder.I thought the internet would be of great help i tried all ways to get her back still it wasn’t yielding any result.Non made her to what to have contact with me.I stumbled on an article on how to make your ex fall in love with again using a spell.At first i was that is so impossible but still something inside made me to contact a spell caster BOLOGO. I wasn’t sure what i was doing, i just thought i should do something.I made it clear what i wanted him to do for me.He asked me to get some material which i got but could not get them over to him.I had to send him the money to get the materials.He told me he was going to send me some enchanting word that those enchantment will control her emotion and make she fall in love with me all over again.All what he told me will happen fell into place just as he said.I had the love of my life back in my hands and there was nothing Joe could do but to back off cos it was clear that she wanting nothing to do with him. BOLOGO is that one spell caster you can give your thrust to.Need to contact him use

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Joyce

    I want to say thank you to Dr Kuq Ya for all the good things he has done for me,Though am not sure if this is the best forum to post this but i cant hide my happiness and my Joy so i have to share it with people my marriage got crashed about a two years ago and i tried all i could within my power but to no avail i saw a post and testimonial about the good things of Dr Kuq Ya has been doing so i decided to give it a trial though he is always a busy man but when he responded back to my e mail,he gave me 5 to 6 hours for my marriage to be restored i am happy since then i am happy and i am living happily i am so grateful Dr Kuq Ya you can always e mail him here: .

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Abi

    Thank you for help but most of all, your honesty. Again, thank you for everything & the peace you are bringing to my life.Raymond’s wills is totally in love with me. He said that he would rather be by himself than with anyone other than me. He told me that he thinks of me, cries, & fantasizes about me every second. Today we made love for the first time in 1 year. Thank you. He wants to be together forever & is willing to do whatever it takes for that to happen. Thank you,Chantel Abi chicago. Send an email to him through the following email address: for your help also

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Limoux

    Hi! You guys cast a Retrieve A Lover Spell for me back in February. And I’d like to thank you for it. My ex and I have been back together for a month now. And it’s been even better than before. I think this time it’s forever. We’ve been talking of moving in together, and maybe getting married in the future. Things between us are great. I thank you for helping to bring him back to me. After our time apart, we’ve learned to appreciate each other more, and not take anything for granted. Thank you. Dr Kuq Ya after trying and falling through other spell casters and witch doctors i had lost hope , but i thank your God for giving me the ability to find you to solve my problems i now can’t imagine that my business is doing better than i thought and i will always live to praise you, Francis limoux from south Africa.Contact Dr Kuq Ya on this email address: you will be glad you did..

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sez

    “I had my doubts about magic spells and I never think I would have dared to just hire any spell caster randomly. That’s why I consulted Dr.Kuq Ya. I mean, it is my life we are talking about! I can’t just let any gods mess with my future. Long story short: Dr Kuq Ya did his analysis and then told me what specific spell caster that would work BEST for me. For ME and my specific case. Well,He was correct and now, 2days after I had the spell cast, my EX broke up with his girlfriend and came running. He BEGGED to come back to me! That’s exactly as I wanted it to be ;)” Sgam sez Costa Rica. Send an email to him through the following email address: for your help also.

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