Opening the Heart with Metta by William Collinge Ph.D
- "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.
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
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:
With metta / Antony.