Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Metta Meditation

There's a type of meditation that's called "metta meditation," or "loving kindness meditation," and it's one of the styles we practise in the Learn to Meditate workshop I lead. It's really short and basically you imagine different "levels" of people and then send them "loving kindness."

The first level is your guru or spiritual teacher, someone who's above judgment. It could also be nature or a pet as I've found, because there are lots of people in our culture who don't have a Jesus or Buddha or Guru or something like that. You imagine that person smiling and happy and you wish them well.

Then you imagine someone you love. Someone you've known, maybe someone in your family. They can be alive or passed on, it doesn't matter. You see them smiling and happy and you wish them well, send them loving kindness, etc., then let it fade out.

Then you imagine someone you don't know really well. Someone neutral, someone you don't have a lot of attachment to, and then you see them smiling and happy, you wish them well, may they be safe, and let them go.

Then you go on to someone you don't love. It could be someone you don't know but just can't stand, like political leaders, or it could be someone you know and that you normally love but it turns out you've been withholding your love from. Then you see them smiling and happy and do the metta thing.

It's a pretty interesting exercise and I suggest you try it. I'll give you a link to an audio file you can check out.

I've done it lots and something always happens when I do it. One time, the neutral person was a cashier I see at Loeb. I don't know him and he just popped in my head as someone's face I could imagine. After the exercise, I felt so connected to him, it was strange. And the next time I saw him at Loeb I was happy to see him and all smiling - of course he had no idea of what had happened!

Last weekend when I did this exercise the person who I imagined in my last area was a guy who wanders my street asking loudly for money. I find I get irritated around him and frustrated by his continuous interruptions. I put him in that spot and sent him love and good vibes. And wouldn't you know it - he doesn't bother me the same way anymore! I even smile when I see him.

Strange things can happen when you do metta meditation. When you're ready for an internal adventure, check it out.

1 comment:

enjoytheworld said...

that's a great thinking...and very useful one to follow with...keep it up man...Thanks for that great post!