“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama
Today, we will move our practice of Metta to the category of a Neutral being. This category is the beginning of expanding our practice from our circle of connection to the broader field of all beings. Here, with the Neutral person, we begin to practice for those we don’t have a personal relationship with, knowing that they, too, deserve happiness as all beings do.
In this stage, we cultivate lovingkindness for a Neutral being; this is someone we have no strong feelings towards. This person is not a friend, nor are we in conflict with them. We simply feel neutral towards them. Most likely, the majority of people we encounter in life fall into this category.
Normally, as we walk along the streets or go shopping, we encounter so many people that there is a tendency to put our emotions in neutral and in a sense ignore those who are around us. It is not always possible to have a real emotional relationship or connection with everyone we meet, particularly when we live in high population areas. In this part of the practice, we learn to focus our attention on those beings that we tend to have no specific feelings for and may not even notice.
Living a large portion of my life in New York City, I learned to tune out a lot of what was going on around me. In many ways, it was a necessary life skill to function on a daily basis and not feel overwhelmed by so much energy and activity. It was also a great place to cultivate a practice of Metta as it afforded me the opportunity to connect inwardly and offer lovingkindness when I could not connect outwardly. Practicing Metta offers a powerful way to create connection with what is going around us in a more energetic way, within the container of our own experience.
Today, with many of us still in lockdown or quarantine, we may not be encountering as many neutral beings in person as we might at other times. Perhaps there is a delivery person or someone we encounter as we go to the grocery store. Maybe someone we see walking by in our neighborhood. Today is a day to notice someone we may not have noticed before and offer Metta for them. This can be a way to connect with people in the world inwardly even when we may not be able to connect outwardly. And, if needed, we can think of someone we have encountered in the past.
Working with the category of a Neutral person opens a doorway to relating more to the world and the people who are around us on a daily basis. It helps to bring us into greater awareness in those spaces where we may tend to check out or become less conscious. This is one of the great gifts of this part of the practice. On one level we are practicing offering lovingkindness for the neutral person; on another, we are accessing a place where we often move into “neutrality” and instead are becoming more conscious and awake.
Do your foundational practices. Once again, we begin by cultivating lovingkindness and compassion for our own self as the foundation for offering it to others. Get comfortable and settle into your breath. Spend a few moments centering on your heart. Imagine yourself sitting in a circle surrounded by loving beings. They may be ones you actually know or those who you imagine are loving. Allow yourself to feel enveloped in this love. Begin to send Metta to yourself by using the phrases you have been working with:
- May I be happy.
- May I be peaceful.
- May I be free of suffering.
- May I have ease of well-being.
When you feel immersed in the energy of loving-kindness and compassion, invite the image of a Neutral being into your mind. Think of someone you have encountered recently or in the past who you just happened to notice. The neutral person is not someone you like or dislike; you have no specific feelings for this person. Once you have called this person to mind, begin by saying inwardly, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.” Then, begin repeating the phrases for this Neutral person:
- May you be happy.
- May you be peaceful.
- May you be free of suffering.
- May you have ease of well-being.
Notice what arises as you practice. If your mind wanders or thoughts arise, just bring your awareness back to the Neutral person and continue repeating the phrases. As always, if difficult emotions dominate your attention, re-center yourself in loving-kindness and repeat the phrases for yourself until you feel clearer and calmer. Then, return your practice to the Neutral person.
Practice as long as you feel to or have committed to for today. When you feel complete, return to your heart center. Spend a few moments reflecting on your practice. Notice how it felt to connect with a Neutral person. For some, this category is more difficult. This category is one that can easily be applied to our daily life. I hope you will explore working with it in your sitting practice and as you go about your day.
Take a few moments to dedicate the merit of your practice asking that it benefit your self, others and all beings without exception.
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 did it feel to practice Metta for a Neutral person?
- Was it different from practicing for Self, a Benefactor or a Beloved?
- How is your practice going?
- Are you able to continue making some time everyday to sit or practice in some way?
- If not, what is stopping you?
- What is your commitment to yourself right now in terms of making time to bring more loving-kindness into your life?
- Take some time to reflect on your experience so far. Jot down anything you have noticed and any insight you have gained.
Wishing you a day filled with peace, happiness and ease of well-being.
Tashi Deleh! (I honor the greatness within you!)
- May Is For Metta Page
- Introducing To May Is For Metta! Daily Posts Start Tomorrow!
- Exploring Metta Meditation
- Apple Podcast Carving A New Path Interview on May Is For Metta
- Youtube Carving A New Path Interview on May Is For Metta
- Day 1 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Our Journey of Lovingkindness Begins
- Day 2 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Circle of Loving Being
- Day 3 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Lovingkindness for Ourselves
- Day 4 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Offering Lovingkindness to Ourselves
- May Is For Metta 2020 Introduction & Foundational Practice Video
- May Is For Metta 2020 Introduction & Foundational Practice Audio
- Day 5 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Strengthening Our Foundational Practice
- Day 6 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Expanding Lovingkindness & Compassion in Ourselves
- Day 7 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Offering Lovingkindness to a Benefactor
- Soundcloud Audio Introduction & Guided Metta for Benefactor
- Day 8 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Lovingkindness for a Benefactor
- Day 9 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Offering Lovingkindness to a Beloved
- Soundcloud Audio Introduction & Guided Metta for a Beloved
- Day 10 ~ Mother’s Day Metta Exploration
- Soundcloud Audio ~ Mother’s Day Metta Introduction & Guided Meditation