There are some things we inherently share as human beings, regardless of our gender, heritage, political views, values or personal preferences. We all desire to feel happy, loved and supported. We all struggle with anger, resentment and pain. We all have the opportunity to shift our consciousness to a more life-affirming joyful existence.
Enter Metta. Translated as loving-kindness, friendliness, good-will or fellowship, Metta is both a practice and an attitude. It is free and available to all of us right now. It is not a quick fix, however with persistent desire and effort it supports us in awakening to our true nature as love. One of my favorite encapsulations of Metta comes from Sharon Salzberg, inspired by a Rumi quote:
A pearl goes up for auction No one has enough, so the pearl buys itself ~Rumi
Love exists in itself, not relying on owning or being owned. Like the pearl, love can only buy itself, because love is not a matter of currency or exchange. No one has enough to buy it but everyone has enough to cultivate it. Metta reunites us with what it means to be alive and unbound. ~Sharon Salzberg
On April 15th, 2018 I had the great pleasure to gather with 15 brave beautiful souls at Studio M Yoga in Mariposa, CA and work on changing our world inside and out by practicing Metta. We did this one heart, and one breath at a time. I am so grateful to everyone who took the time to come together! While I have practiced Metta Meditation for years, the potency of doing it in a group was palatable and prepared me for the battle ahead.
In the week following our workshop I was challenged and brought to my limit by the actions of a loved one behaving in a self-destructive, thoughtless and painful way. While riding waves of anger and resentment I turned to Metta or Loving Kindness and practiced holding this person in my heart and wishing them well. Each time they broke their promise, lied to me or continued their self-destruction, I would take space for myself, get quiet, and start repeating the phrases. Sometimes these were directed toward me, sometimes toward them, sometimes toward another being.
Total game changer! Each time I went to the phrases, I immediately felt my heart soften and had the ability to hold both them and myself in compassion regardless of their actions. It was an incredible tool in a time of crisis that helped me to return again and again to my true nature as a loving, caring human being. There is nothing like personally experiencing the efficacy of a practice. The mind-heart is so powerful!
This empowering practice is available to you. We all have difficult people in our lives, and it is our opportunity and responsibility to cultivate how we want to show up moment to moment. Please access the meditation below and use it whenever and wherever you need!
When you practice Metta please know the following:
- The effects may not be immediate. If you don’t feel warmth or ease in your heart keep practicing! It comes with time.
- You can practice anytime, anywhere. You don’t need to sit on a meditation cushion. The practice can be done while walking, driving, washing dishes etc.
- Keep coming back to your phrases! You don’t need to use the classic phrases; you can come up with your own that more directly access your heart space. Use 2-3 friendly phrases that are simple and you can return to again and again.
There is no greater gift than investing in your own happiness and freedom! It radiates from us as inextinguishable warmth. We are empowered to shine our true light.
I wish you ease and clear access to your heart’s greatest strength and desire. May these practices soften and embolden you as you need.
I would love to hear your thoughts and how you are engaging with Metta; please email me or leave a comment below!
April 27, 2018 @ 6:41 am
Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing Metta Meditation to me through your recent workshop and this blog! It is inspiring to know I can continue to reap the benefits of practicing Loving Kindness here and on my own. You “radiate inextinguishable warmth” and are a wonderful guide for others!
May 2, 2018 @ 8:02 pm
Thank you Karen. It is in being with others like yourself that I get to receive incredible inextinguishable warmth! Thank you so much for you comment and for coming to the workshop. You are right on that the Metta Practice really takes love into a whole new dimension and understanding; I can reap the benefits on my own, no other person immediately needed. It is so freeing to know we are in control of the cultivation of our love. Thank you and best wishes as you continue to practice!
April 29, 2018 @ 5:45 pm
Thank you so much for sharing this Metta Meditation practice through your newsletter! I am so happy to have this on hand. This is a beautiful thing to share.
May 2, 2018 @ 7:59 pm
Thank YOU Denise! I am really happy to share something that has made such a large impact on my life. May it continue to serve you well. Your heart is so huge, and you offer it graciously in your work with our community; may it be nourished!
April 30, 2018 @ 11:51 am
Paula, thank you so much for sharing this amazing tool – Metta practice, your dedicated study, knowledge and wisdom.
Wow, Metta got my meditation practice in next level!
Thank you again, and I look forward to practice with you more!
May 2, 2018 @ 7:58 pm
I always love practicing with you Akiko. It brings me such joy to know the Metta Practice took you to such a special, loving place and that you were then able to share that with your yoga students. It is an honor to walk this path with you!