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Opening the Heart with Metta by William Collinge Ph.D

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  • Antony Woods
    I did a lot of metta when I went on my vacation to Santa Fe to visit my cousin and her husband. I would sit and do metta for a while each morning. I had
    Message 1 of 2 , May 1, 2008
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      "I did a lot of metta
      when I went on
      my vacation to Santa Fe
      to visit my cousin and her husband.
      I would sit and do metta
      for a while each morning.
      I had expected that I'd get bored,
      but the longer I did it
      the more people came into my awareness
      that I wanted to include," states Penny,
      who had recently taken a class
      on a form of meditation called metta.

      This is a Buddhist practice
      in which you repeat intentions
      of good will
      toward yourself, others and the world at large.
      It bridges meditation and chanting,
      and its power comes from the repetition
      which serves to focus the mind and intention
      on a central thought or theme,
      in effect shutting out distracting thoughts
      and giving your full mental energy to the intention at hand.

      "On my own,
      I found myself wanting
      to include people
      I'd had conflicts and difficulties with,
      including my father
      with whom I've always had a very painful relationship.
      The more I did it the more love I felt
      my heart felt more and more expansive,
      which became a wonderfully pleasurable experience.

      "The feeling would carry over into my day,
      and I would look forward to doing it again the next day.
      It also made it easier
      to be with my cousin and her husband,
      who in the past had been very difficult and demanding.
      It was much easier for me
      to just accept them
      rather than be in conflict with them.
      We ended up having this wonderful trip together,
      and he even became more loving in the process."

      There are many ways to practice metta,
      which is sometimes also called a "loving kindness" meditation.
      (There is a guided exercise in this at the end of this chapter.)
      One form is as follows:

      May I be peaceful.
      May I be happy.
      May I be well.
      May I be safe.
      May I be free from suffering.

      May all beings be peaceful.
      May all beings be happy.
      May all beings be well.
      May all beings be safe.
      May all beings be free from suffering.

      These words are repeated slowly,
      with pauses between phrases
      for contemplation and absorption of the intention.
      It is a common practice in this tradition
      to "do metta" as a formal spiritual practice daily,
      and there are even meditation retreats
      in which this constitutes the whole practice
      day in and day out for a week or more.
      The emphasis is not so much on sound vibration
      as on being absorbed in the repetition of the mental intention.
      Practitioners universally report
      that such practice opens the heart
      and creates deep feelings of peacefulness and harmony.
      http://www.healthy.net/collinge/metta.htm
      Excerpted from Subtle Energy: Awakening to the Unseen Forces in Our
      Lives by William Collinge, Ph.D., Warner Books, Inc., 1998

      Antony: Regarding repeating of phrases:
      From a memorization technique tip:
      It is more effective to speak a phrase once a day every day for 30 days
      Than it is to speak the phrase 30 times today only.
      The same with meditation. It is more effective to meditate for 1
      minute every day for 30 days than it is to meditate for 30 minutes
      today only.

      I am going to think about how I can use this tip in my practice (OK:
      practice not just today only but my practice every day for the month
      of May 2008).
      Follow my blog:
      http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/blog/dhammapal/index.php?

      With metta / Antony.
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