I've started translating metta as non-ill will. Rather than the practice being a loving spiritual performance I can simply ask myself if there is anyone out there that I have ill will for, and if there is to apply the antidotes. This process can be practiced at the fruit market, naturally leading to spiritual happiness without having to feel self-conscious about being a Buddhist or to impatiently await better conditions to concentrate on the "real" meditation. Even with the neutral person the practice doesn't just address emotional numbness but there is always the stress of physical or mental proximity even if just maneuvering one's shopping cart to avoid a collision.
Non-ill will doesn't mean never rejecting anyone or anything. As one meditation teacher once said, equanimity doesn't mean you accept the rotten tomato. You avoid the rotten tomato!
Meanwhile there is the vague sense of a whole mysterious universe of "unfinished business" such that the happiness of all beings becomes an urgent concern as the basis for giving one lots of meaningful work to do as the application of one's energy from nutrition. The ultimate goal is to have finished one's worldly work and exit the food chain, but the Buddha refused to declare whether the enlightened one exists after death, does not exist, both or neither. This points us with immediacy back to this present moment now with the duties of the Brahmaviharas and the Four Noble Truths, which are based externally on Noble Friendship and internally on Wise Consideration. The fruit market continues to function and prosper and one dwells with wonderful memories of how to practice mindfulness in action. See my Memories-Mindfulness group.
With metta / Antony.
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