(originally posted 6/14/16)
I have wanted to write a good bit lately. The last few weeks have been amazing, so of course inspiration has been plentiful. You see I started a journey in 2011 (really, much earlier than that, but that’s another story for another day). And while this journey may not end any time soon, just like any other, there are points of interest along the way…places that need a bit of extra time or attention. But I can’t seem to write about that now.
What I can write about is metta. In the days following the massacre in Orlando, I can only think of and write about metta.
Metta is a meditation for loving-kindness, something many parts of our world is lacking. I’ve shared my version with the yoga classes I’ve taught so far this week, and I’ll share it the remainder of the week. It’s vital that we stop, touch base with that divine light we all carry, and remember that we are all connected. We are more alike than we are different.
It begins easily enough by seating yourself in a way that is comfortable. Allow yourself to start to relax and focus on your breath. Take breaths that are long and deep, allowing the inhale to match the exhale. Begin by recognizing loving kindness, and sending it first to yourself. Allow yourself to sit quietly and let those feeling wash over you, move through you. Often, practitioners will acknowledge with the following language, uttered under the breath or in the mind: “May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.” This will be your mantra for the meditation.
Next, bring to mind someone for whom you feel love. This could be a partner, a parent or child, or anyone who is beloved to you. Send the same loving kindness to them. Allow the same words here. Allow yourself to feel those words as you send that loving kindness to that person. Replace “I” with their name. I find it helpful to place my have over my heart as I consider this. There’s something profound to me about feeling my heartbeat as I send love out to another.
The next step is to choose a person who’s neutral, for whom you have no strong feeling one way or the other. I often remind people about their dry cleaner, mail carrier, or the person who hands you something through the drive-though window. Repeat that mantra again, changing the name accordingly. Allow your breath and the message to move you. Send loving kindness to this person.
Here’s where it gets tricky: now, choose someone who’s a challenge to you. Sometimes when this meditation is taught or discussed, people say choose your enemy. The person who challenges you most may not be what you’d consider an enemy, even though they do create challenge for you. You decide who that is. Then send them the same loving kindness you sent your beloved. Send them the same loving kindness you sent yourself. Use the same words. I will tell you this: at first, it IS hard. You may feel a ripple move through your body. Breathe with that. Breathe through that. It will pass after enough breaths…keep breathing until you feel soft again.
Then, it changes again. This time, send that loving kindness out to your immediate community. It’s taught to send it to strangers, or specifically to people you don’t know. I like community…you know some but not all of those people. Same words. Same mantra. Same loving kindness. Send it out…
And last, send that loving kindness to the entire world. That could be interpreted as the whole world, or your entire world. You can meditate as you see fit. I believe when you change your world, by default you change the whole world. Send that mantra out. And receive the loving kindness sent to you. Stay open to that…
May we be happy. May we be well. May we be safe. May we be peaceful and at ease.
Send those words out. Carry that loving kindness in your heart. And receive it when it is sent back to you.
May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.
Sending you loving kindness.