Last night, my wife and I watched Nicolas Cage in the Family Man on Netflix. This is my favorite scene from the movie:
The premise of the movie is a rich Wall Street executive is given the chance to see how his life would have turned out had he chosen starting a family over his career. The story is basically It’s a Wonderful Life in reverse.
Watching the movie helped me to see that I need to love my wife and children more, and to show them more appreciation as a husband and father. I too often focus on the burdens in my life rather than on my blessings.
I want to love my wife just like Nakulapitā loved his:
A man and his wife, householders of Sumsumāragiri in the Bhagga-country. When the Buddha visited the village and stayed at Bhesakalāvana, they went to see him. They immediately fell at his feet, calling him “son” and asking why he had been so long away. It is said that they had been the Bodhisatta’s parents for five hundred births and his near relations for many more. The Buddha preached to them and they became sotāpannas. The Buddha visited their village once more when they were old. They entertained him, telling of their devotion to each other in this life and asking for a teaching which should keep them likewise together in after-life. The Buddha referred to this in the assembly of the Sangha, declaring them to be the most intimate companions (vissāsikā) among his disciples. (A.I.26, A.II.61f, AA.i.216f, 246; ii.514; SA.ii.182)
Nakulapitā and Nakulamātā
The practice of metta begins with oneself and one’s immediate family:
The practice gradually increases in difficulty with respect to the targets that receive the practitioners compassion or loving-kindness. At first the practitioner is targeting “oneself, then loved ones, neutral ones, difficult ones and finally all beings, with variations across traditions.”
Mettā - Wikipedia
If we can’t extend loving-kindness and compassion on our own kin, how can we extend it to the world?