Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC: what about metta?

what about metta? 28 Dec 2014 22:30 #96917

Hello all-

Since I have been beginning and closing my sits with an intention, I remembered how I used to do metta for a few minutes after every sit, and how just, NICE it is! It reminds me to be kind to myself, and to others. I have heard that metta is, at it's core, really just a mantra type concentration practice. Maybe I don't have a good enough understanding of the breadth of concentration practices because it definitely feels like something else is going on, like I am giving myself some good psychotherapy or eating a bowl of mindfulness comfort food.

For me, a big part of why I practice at all is so that I can be more conducive to loving kindness and less conducive to harmfulness/non beneficial thoughts and actions, so metta seems like a logical practice to accompany daily sitting. I know that the main goal of practice is to come out of all suffering, but day to day it is hard for me to conceptualize that, so this feels more tangible.

What are other people's thoughts on metta? Do you practice too? If so, how often? and Why? If not, why not?
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kristijan

what about metta? 29 Dec 2014 02:01 #96918

Hi Derya,

Really glad you raised this. Metta and the other 'Immeasurable Minds' or Bramaviharas are amazing and I believe often overlooked by practitioners. I did and do practice metta though and found it very powerful in the following ways (no particular order):

* Takes the practictioner away from self referencing
* Opens practitioner to open space perception - particular good in later paths (just in my experience)
* Literally helps people (I noticed a number of examples where people of focus in my practice had good things happen to them related to what I was wishing for them - very hard to verify though of course)
* Generates a general attitude of love, kindness and friendliness which can be helpful to offset dark night and all the self crap that goes on along the path.

I find it the most wonderful practice and believe it fundamental to practice and motivations as you have mentioned in your motivations to practice.

Best Wishes
Last Edit: 29 Dec 2014 02:01 by Rod.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, Tina, Derya Anderson

what about metta? 29 Dec 2014 04:09 #96921

I find that when you're feeling like absolute crap it is a good way to obtain equanimity with the feelings - observe them with a sense of metta. It makes it easy to find just the right amount of weight with which to observe whats going on, because you can't push love, it has to come up on its own. you can just be as sensitive as possible
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, Derya Anderson

what about metta? 29 Dec 2014 06:20 #96922

All _really_ good answers.

One dimension that wasn't mentioned is the "detection of subtle ill will" aspect of metta. When you wish for others to be well, you can watch your own body reactions and see if you really mean it. It's kind of a lie detector. Sometimes our self-protective defensiveness will become obvious. If some ill will arises, you can include those sensations of reactivity as you are doing the practice. This is "owning the shadow".

Metta for self reveals our personal defense mechanisms (our defense against some sense of being unlovable)
Metta for those close to us reveals our resistance to interdependence (our overlooking of how much of the quality of our lives is at the whims of unreliable others)
Metta for those that cause difficulties/obstruction reveals our worldview defense mechanisms (our us vs. them mentality which feels like a way to be safe but just creates more danger)
Metta for unknown beings reveals our fears (the scary "other")

I did a lot of metta practice. The harder things got, the more I did. Many times during metta practice I've felt, oh this poor mind and body, it's been through so much in this life, no wonder it's struggling, but there is no need to struggle right now in this moment...

Once the foundation of metta practice is established, it's really straightforward to do more complicated and precise practices like 5 Elements or 6 Realms practice. It can also be expanded into the four immeasurables.

I think it's a really good thing to develop your own personal metta wording, based on all of those that are out there. Something that is really true to your heart/mind. Here's mine at this moment in time:

May we all be calm and at ease
May we be healthy, rested, and whole
May we be safe and free from danger
May we act with wisdom and avoid unnecessary problems
May we awaken
May we be free from suffering
May we be happy

This practice is still "old reliable", I still do it often. I think there is a time when it's really important to work on it and wire it into the body and mind, after that it's almost like writing one's signature, it can be called upon at a moments notice.
Last Edit: 29 Dec 2014 06:30 by shargrol.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kate Gowen, Tina, Rod, Derya Anderson

what about metta? 30 Dec 2014 11:44 #96948

Thanks all, for your responses.

In a book called, "the Attention Revolution" (Teague is reading it but during a snowstorm he read me a couple of pages in the car while I was driving), the author describes loving kindness and compassion arising as a result of continued practice. I love his description of it, he says (paraphrasing terribly) that under slightly different circumstances, any person we encounter in the entire world could have been a friend of ours. This has helped me feel metta to people in day to day life, like that random person at the store, the person checking me in, the guy who cut me off on the highway, etc. If I just imagine, oh what if that was my old friend Bob? I feel not angry that he cut me off but rather like laughing, "oh that Bob, he's such a crazy guy!"

This has also helped with judgement and compassion, what if that homeless person on this cold day was a dear friend? Rather than avoiding them or giving them change to get them to leave me alone, I may give them a smile or some kind words, and treat them with respect rather than avoidance.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Tina, Rod

what about metta? 30 Dec 2014 16:55 #96954

I have been thinking, lately, of how corrosive a state of dissatisfaction and resentment is "normal" for most of us confused 21st types. And thinking, contrariwise, how restorative taking the opportunity to appreciate even very small things, is. There really are so many reasons for gratitude; and being grateful feels ever so much better than being pissed off.

This is such an obvious, simple thing that it is spoken of even in rhymes for children: "The world is so full of a number of things/ I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings."

Appreciation really is a "boundless", inexhaustible accomplishment-- practice and the results don't need to get any better, more complicated or special, than that.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ona Kiser, Kacchapa, Tina, Rod, Derya Anderson, Kristijan
Time to create page: 0.171 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum