How to Start Practicing Metta (Loving-Kindness)

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Kuan Yin, bodhisattva of compassion. Picture by Liza Matthews.

Jack Kornfield on starting this time-honored, heart-opening apply.

In our tradition, individuals discover it tough to direct loving-kindness to themselves. We could really feel that we’re unworthy, or that it’s egotistical, or that we shouldn’t be glad when different persons are struggling. So reasonably than begin loving-kindness apply with ourselves, which is conventional, I discover it extra useful to begin with these we most naturally love and care about. One of many stunning ideas of compassion and loving-kindness practices is that we begin the place it really works, the place it’s best. We open our coronary heart in essentially the most pure means, then direct our loving-kindness little by little to the areas the place it’s harder.

First, sit comfortably and relaxed, together with your eyes closed. Sense your self seated right here on this thriller of human life. Take your seat midway between heaven and Earth, because the Buddha did, then deliver a sort consideration to your self. Really feel your physique seated and your breath respiration naturally.

Consider somebody you care about and love quite a bit. Then let pure phrases of excellent needs for them come into your thoughts and coronary heart. Among the conventional ones are, “Could you be secure and guarded,” “Could you be wholesome and powerful,” and “Could you be really glad.”

Then image a second individual you care about and specific the identical good needs and intentions towards them.

Subsequent, think about that these two individuals whom you’re keen on are providing you their loving-kindness. Image how they have a look at you with concern and love as they are saying, “Could you too be secure and guarded. Could you be wholesome and powerful. Could you be really glad.”

Take of their good needs. Now flip them towards your self. Typically individuals place their hand on their coronary heart or their physique as they repeat the phrases: “Could I be secure and guarded. Could I be wholesome and powerful. Could I be really glad.”

With the identical care let your eyes open, look across the room, and provide your loving-kindness to everybody round you. Really feel how nice it’s to unfold the sphere of loving-kindness.

Now consider your self as a beacon, spreading the sunshine of loving-kindness like a lighthouse round your metropolis, across the nation, around the globe, even to distant planets. Assume, “Could all beings far and close to, all beings younger and outdated, beings in each route, be held in nice loving-kindness. Could they be secure and guarded. Could they be wholesome and powerful. Could they be really glad.”

The Buddha stated that the woke up coronary heart of loving-kindness and freedom is our birthright as human beings. “If these items weren’t doable,” he stated, “I might not train them. However as a result of they’re doable for you, I provide these teachings of the dharma of awakening.”

 

 

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