I noticed that I'm finding it easier to see other living beings as my mother - but that it's with animals, not people. More and more, when I see a spider or a dog or an ant, I think, "mother," whereas when I see a friend or a teenager or a baby, I think friend or teenager or baby.
I've gotten over some of the hurdles that typically prevent us from seeing others as our mother, such as believing in the continuity of consciousness and rebirth. Now it makes sense, intellectually, that every being could have been my mother in a previous life, and from there it just takes a little more faith - because Buddha has no reason to lie and everything else he's taught me has proven to be true - to believe every single one of them have cared for me that way. I can also see how this view is very beneficial.
Even our language reflects the understanding that we have multiple mothers in this life: mother-in-law, stepmother, adoptive mother, mother figure.
But other hurdles remain.
Why for me does it seem easier to see as my mother beings who are a different species? In some ways, it seems backwards: Shouldn't it be easier to see beings like me as being related?
On the few occasions when I do see a person as my mother, it tends to be someone with motherly qualities, like Gen-la Kunsang, who exudes loving kindness. They also tend to be older than I am - that's partly because I'm seeing it in terms of math (how could someone younger possibly be my mother?).
Well, at least I know now what I need to work on: Seeing other people, no matter what their age or gender, as my mother.
In the classic children's book Are You My Mother?, a baby bird sets out to look for his mother, asking that question of everyone and everything he meets, including a cow and a steam-shovel.
There could be some Buddhist versions of the book. One could feature the bird encountering different kinds of animals and people, and the answer would always be, "Yes, I'm your mother." Another version, to parallel the original, could be recast with only inanimate objects, such as computers, dishwashers, vending machines and pickup trucks - all non-mothers. There could be another version titled "Are You My Guru?" and again the answer would always be "Yes," because we can see everyone, everything, every situation as our Guru, viewing it all as teachings for our benefit manifested by our Guru.
In Eight Steps to Happiness Geshe-la says "'Self' and 'other' are relative terms, rather like 'this mountain' and 'that mountain ... 'This' and 'that' therefore depend upon our point of reference. This is also true of self and other. By climbing down the mountain of self, it is possible to ascend the mountain of other, and thereby cherish others as much as we presently cherish ourself."