Day 18 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Lovingkindness For All Beings
“Let thoughts of loving-kindness pervade the whole world, above and below, outwards and unbounded, free from any hatred or ill-will. Whether standing or walking, sitting or lying down, during all one’s waking hours, tend this mind of goodwill, which is called the state of sublime abiding.
– The Buddha, Sutta Nipata
The Buddha taught that loving-kindness practice is central to happiness. The practice of Metta is very positive and as we have touched on earlier, really means cultivating a deep “friendliness” toward ourselves, others and all beings. Sometimes people think these feelings should arise naturally or spontaneously rather than being generated. The Buddha shared that there is a need to cultivate these qualities. He taught that achieving this state, known as “sublime abiding”, where heart and mind are one, comes from a heavenly state, however it is something we must invite into ourselves and our lives on a continual basis. It’s not magic pill that we take once. In a sense, by continuing to work with the energies and qualities of loving-kindness and compassion, we are activating that part of our our divine essence.
Today, we will continue our practice with the category of All Beings. After generating our foundation, we will move on to one of the individual categories to explore both shifting from various categories of practice and working toward generating our foundation of Metta as we open to offering it to All Beings.
As always, we begin by cultivating loving-kindness and compassion for ourselves. Find a comfortable position. Imagine yourself in the center of a circle of loving beings or enveloped in the feeling of loving-kindness. Begin your practice by offering the Metta phrases for yourself. I’m sharing some alternative phrases today to explore or you can feel free to continue with those you have been working with so far.
- May I be free from danger.
- May I have mental happiness.
- May I have physical happiness.
- May I have ease of well-being.
When you feel ready, choose one category, either a Benefactor/Mentor or a Beloved to work with. Envision holding this being in loving-kindness and compassion. Say to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and peaceful, so does this being wish for joy and serenity.” Begin to offer phrases for the person you have chosen:
- May you be free from danger.
- May you have mental happiness.
- May you have physical happiness.
- May you have ease of well-being.
When you feel ready to move on, come back to your heart center for a few moments and repeat a round of phrases for yourself. This time call on one group of All Beings, such as All Children, All Animals, All Men, or All Women. Say to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and peaceful, so do All ______ wish for joy and serenity.” Begin to offer loving-kindness to this group by offering the phrases:
- May All _______ be free from danger.
- May All _______ have mental happiness.
- May All _______ have physical happiness.
- May All _______ have ease of well-being.
As always, if your mind wanders, just notice and return to the phrases. If you continue to struggle or difficult emotions arise, return your practice to your self until your feel more settled. When you feel ready, once again offer the phrases for your group. If working with a large group is too difficult, you can always choose a smaller group, like your family or a community you are a part of. Sometimes it is more challenging to hold our focus and awareness on a larger group of beings, particularly spread out around the world.
When you feel ready to move on, center in your heart once again. Connect with the loving-kindness within your self. Say to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and peaceful, so do All Beings wish for joy and serenity.” And, gently begin to repeat the phrases for All Beings:
- May All Beings be free from danger.
- May All Beings have mental happiness.
- May All Beings have physical happiness.
- May All Beings have ease of well-being.
Remember that if at any point you need to return the practice to yourself, or perhaps return to a smaller group, this is important. Being gentle and responsive to yourself is one of the gifts of Metta practice. We notice our difficulty or resistance, but rather than ignoring it or trying to push through it, we return to our own heart and to cultivating loving-kindness for ourselves. It can be helpful to reflect on or journal about what difficulties arise as they are indication of things we need to work on in ourselves.
When you feel complete with your practice, return yourself to your circle of loving beings or envision yourself enveloped in the loving-kindness and compassion that you have been cultivating. Allow that feeling to sink in to you, let every atom and cell of your being to absorb the energy of loving-kindness. Take a few moments to reflect on your practice.
Dedicate the merit of your practice for all beings. Consider all of the beings you have practiced for today and offer the merit of your practice for their benefit. Remember that as you offer up the merit of your practice, you are not giving it away or losing it but you are actually generating more merit through the act of giving.
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.
- Did you have difficult feelings or emotions arise during your practice?
- If so, spend some time writing about them.
- What did you notice in practicing for various categories of individuals and groups
- Were some more difficult than others? Were some easier?
- How are you feeling about your practice overall?
- Is there anything you’d like to change about it for the rest of our time together?
This can be a good time to review your commitment to see if you’d like to make any changes.
Wishing you a day filled with light, love and peace!
Tashi Deleh! (I honor the greatness within you!)