Home » Loving Ourselves » Day 8 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Lovingkindness for a Benefactor or Mentor

Day 8 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Lovingkindness for a Benefactor or Mentor

“For all of us, love can be the natural state of our own being; naturally at peace, naturally connected, because this becomes the reflection of who we simply are.”

~ Sharon Salzberg

It is taught that there are four essential ingredients in the practice of Metta. They are as follows: 

  • positive images
  • positive words
  • feelings of lovingkindness
  • trusting in love

Trust involves all of aspects as it includes trusting in the power of the images, words and the feelings of lovingkindness.  Trusting in love allows our lovingkindness meditation to be most effective.  And, as we have discussed this can sometimes go against our grain.  For some of us, trusting in love is not what we learned to do as a child or adult or we had experienced that broke our trust.  However, as we begin to open to trust by loving ourselves, our whole word can change.

Today, we will continue our practice working with the category of  Benefactor/Mentor.  You may with to continue to practice with the same person you chose yesterday or you can explore working with another being.  If you are not sure with whom to work, just call a few possibilities into your mind.  Imagine each being coming into your heart center, notice how you feel and try out the phrases on each one until you feel clear who you wish to work with for today.  Allow your heart to guide you.  This is a good way to learn to use your own heart wisdom as your guide.

Exploring the Switchback:

We’ve touched on this concept, which I labeled the “switchback” yesterday.  I just want to discuss it here a bit more before going into today’s practice.  This is technique you can use throughout your Metta practice and really whenever you are struggling with staying present or having difficult feelings arise.

At any point when you notice your mind has wandered, you simply come back to the moment   You may do this by coming back to the place you were in the practice, the being you were focusing on and the phrases you were offering.  If you can’t remember where you left off, you can simply begin again.  Another important aspect of the switchback is that if you are having a lot of distraction or difficult feelings coming up, you can always switch your practice back to yourself for a few moments.  This may be by offering yourself a few phrases or returning to your foundational practice to reconnect with the energy of lovingkindness and compassion.  Then when you feel more centered, you can return your practice to the category you were working with before the switchback. Today, that is the Benefactor. Tomorrow, we will move on to the category of Beloved.  

Utilizing this practice of switching back, offers a way to become more loving with ourselves.  We listen, we become more attentive, and we respond to ourselves when we are having difficulty.   And most importantly, we respond to ourselves with loving-kindness and compassion rather than harshness or criticism.  In a moment when we could choose to become self-critical or disconnected, we gently and lovingly reconnect with ourselves and our center through lovingkindness. 

Going forward, I encourage you to explore this practice of switching back and forth as you need to during your practice – do it as often as you feel to.  You can also explore turning your attention to yourself, your heart center or imagining your circle of loving beings throughout your day when you have trouble staying present in the moment or when you are have difficult feelings or challenges arising.  Those difficult moments during your day are the perfect opportunity to bring your Metta practice into your daily life.

Daily Practice:

Do your foundational practices.  Begin by getting comfortable and settling in to your breath.  Spend a few moments centering on your heart and connecting with your loving being or sitting in your circle of loving beings.  Really allow your self to feel enveloped in the energies of lovingkindness and compassion.  Remember, creating a strong foundation is an important part of the practice; be careful not to neglect this as you begin to offer Metta to others.  When you feel ready, begin to offer the Metta phrases you have been working with to yourself.

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being

Bring an image of the Benefactor/Mentor clearly into your mind and let yourself feel what it feels like to be in the presence of that being.  Really allow yourself to enjoy the feeling of being with that person.  This is someone who warms your heart just by thinking about them.  Say to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.”  Begin repeating the phrases for your Benefactor or Mentor:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free of suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-bein

Continue to practice for your Benefactor/Mentor for as long as you can or have committed to for your practice.   Utilize the switch back as you notice distraction or difficult feelings arise.  When you feel complete,  return your awareness to the image of yourself connecting to the energy of lovingkindness and fully being present in your heart center.  Allow that feeling to really sink into you, into every atom and cell of your being.  Let it surround and envelope you.  As you move out into your day, imagine yourself embodying loving-kindness and compassion with each step and each breath that you take.

Daily Journal Reflection:

  • Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today.  
  • How does it feel to practice for a Benefactor/Mentor? 
  • Did you explore switching back to yourself as needed? 
  • How is your practice going? 
  • Are you able to spend some time sitting everyday or have you decided to incorporate your practice in some other way? 
  • What are you learning about yourself? 
  • Are you being gentle and loving with yourself as your practice or explore?

As always, you are invited to share your reflections, comments and questions below or in our May Is For Metta Facebook group

May you be happy.  
May you be peaceful.  
May you be free of suffering.  
May you have ease of well-being today and everyday.

Tashi Deleh! (I honor the greatness within you!)

Beth


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