“Sometimes while I ride the subway I try to look at each person and imagine what they look like to someone who is totally in love with them. I think everyone has had someone look at them that way, whether it was a lover, or a parent, or a friend, whether they know it or not.
It’s a wonderful thing, to look at someone to whom I would never be attracted and think about what looking at them feels like to someone who is devouring every part of their image, who has invisible strings that are connected to this person tied to every part of their body.
I think this fun pastime is a way of cultivating compassion. It feels good to think about people that way, and to use that part of my mind that I think is traditionally reserved for a tiny portion of people I’ll meet in my life to appreciate the general public.
I wish I thought about people like this more often. I think it’s the opposite of what our culture teaches us to do. We prefer to pick people apart to find their flaws.
Cultivating these feelings of love or appreciation for random people, and even for people I don’t like, makes me a more forgiving and appreciative person – toward myself and people I love.
Also, it’s just a really excellent pastime.”
"Fall in love with the first thing or person you see. Your latte, the café worker, a bottle of ketchup, a bird out the window, a panel truck passing. Whatever. Write about it, talk to it, focus on it rapturously. A variation: Jot down a list of things you see around you and fall recklessly in love with all of them."
- Sketchy Subway Artist
- The Patience of Ordinary Things by Pat Schneider
- "The Moral Instinct: What Makes Us Want to Be Good?" by Steven Pinker, The New York Times Magazine, Jan. 13, 2008