Quiet Mind Meditation

This is a quiet space .. designed to inspire, nurture and support your meditation practice so that you might find your own quiet mind

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Metta Meditation : The joy of extending Loving-Kindness


In Monday nights class (after the Warming Up exercises : see below) I spoke about the wonderful Metta Meditation practice .. and how lovely it is to include this practice at this time of year when we are reminded of all the people we love and care about .. and when we may also seek to embrace and share our heartfelt concern for others in the world around us.

Metta is a Pali word translated as ‘love’ or more often ‘loving kindness’ .. and this meditation is one where we offer unconditional well-wishes, an openhearted nurturing, first to ourselves and then to others .. just as we are!

In the traditional practice of metta meditation we systematically offer loving-kindness to ourselves, and then to a selection of others, through the silent repetition of some classic phrases. In the Buddhist tradition we practice metta meditation to methodically cultivate the quality of loving-kindness ..
.. and we began by offering metta to ourselves:

May I be happy
May I be peaceful … at ease
May I accept myself just as I am
May I be free to live and love fully

We then extend the same wish to others in order, firstly .. a loved one .. then, a dear friend .. a neutral person (such as your barista who makes the delicious latte each morning, or the lady who takes your dry cleaning) .. and finally someone we find a little difficult..

May you be happy
May you be peaceful .. at ease
May you accept yourself just as you are
May you be free to live and love fully…

Metta meditation aims to transform our relationships - not just with ourselves but with the world around us. One of the true blessings of metta practice is that it puts us in touch with how many people we truly love and care about (= an immediate source of joy and nourishment when you are feeling crappy or stressed) .. and it also helps build the connection we have with ALL people .. those in distant lands, different tribes, far off places .. it opens us to others and brings us all together.

Please don't worry if you don't truly feel the hearts warmth extending out .. it is much more important that our intention is there to begin to open the circle of loving-kindness ..
.. in this way Meta meditation helps us shift our focus from getting love to creating it, from fixing life to embracing it ..
I mentioned in class that earlier on Monday morning as I arrived at work and opened my computer to the current news headlines .. I read a very sad article about a wonderful, high achieving and successful mother/partner/daughter who had lost her fight with breast cancer. I have people dear to me who have also travelled this road. I felt so helpless and sad .. I stopped for a moment, took a breath, and sent my metta meditation to all those touched by such tragedy. A small but heartfelt 'prayer' if you like .. May you be happy .. May you be peaceful .. at ease ..

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