Continuing with Sally Armstrong’s talk, “The roles of mindfulness, metta and equanimity in our practice” – now turning to the practice of metta.
There are many ways to translate metta: lovingkindness, friendliness, goodwill, benevolence, acceptance, heartfulness. I was first taught this as “lovingkindness”, but as Sally mentions,
“If we use the term “lovingkindness” – as soon as we put the word “love” in there, we can get tripped up a little. We think it has to be grand, or expansive, or immediately unconditional. For most of us, that’s not the case – we take these small steps of opening and caring. We have to start where we are.~ Sally Armstrong
There are different options for cultivating this sense of well-wishing. One of the common practices is to repeat phrases. I’ve had to learn over time that the phrases are only part of the practice. As Sally explains,
Even as we repeat phrases, which might seem like a mental activity, we want to keep grounded in the body. We use the mindfulness to know what’s happening. Are we saying the phrases? Is there that intention being cultivated? What are we feeling? How is the breath? How is the body?
We always stay grounded in the body, even as we’re offering the phrases of metta – towards ourselves or towards others.~ Sally Armstrong
There are various traditional phrases. Here are some of the phrases that Kamala suggests in the meditation below. She encourages us to make the phrases our own.
May I/you be safe and protected from inner and outer harm.
May I/you be peaceful and happy.
May I/you be healthy and strong.
May I/you be at ease with the conditions of life.
Guided meditation: This is the first metta meditation from the retreat, led by Kamala Masters. The first few minutes of the recording go over some basics of the practice. The meditation starts at about 12:45 and ends at about 46:15.
Feel free to share your reflections or comments below, or by email.
With warm wishes,