Metta Practice Talk - Tyler

In this talk I’ll give a 15 minute introduction to the practice of Metta, known as loving Kindness.

5 mins

So in Insight Mindfulness, the practice is described like two wings of a bird, one wing is growing our awareness, as in the practice of breath and body meditation, and the other wing is bringing a kind attention into our space and holding that space in a gentle warm compassion.

So I would call Metta or Loving-Kindness like a kind, warm quality that we can begin to cultivate in ourselves. Usually this is cultivated with traditional phrases, and directing those phrases at who we wish to feel well.

And so, in a practice, you might bring to mind someone it is easy to feel a sense of warmth towards, such as a happy puppy, or a smiling baby, or someone you love seeing the smile of, and directing statements like the following to them,

May you be filled with loving kindness, held in loving-kindness,

May you be safe from all forms of inner and outer harm.

May you know a deep and natural peace.

May you be happy and healthy. May you accept yourself completely just as you are in this moment.

Then, you can take that same sense of kind intention, and redirect it to yourself or to the world, such as,

May I be filled with lovingkindness, may I be safe from harm, may I be healthy and happy, may I be able to accept myself just I am in this moment, or out to the world, may all beings be well, may all beings be safe from harm, may all beings know peace.

These statements can sometimes trigger feelings of insufficiency in the mind, judgments, and when this happens, you can gently notice these in your awareness, and ask,

Can I let that be there? Can I let that be there just as it is?

2 mins

When I first started this practice, I felt critical of it, it just reminded me that I wanted to be more kind and loving, but my thoughts were hypercritical and sharp, rough, uncaring.

I because unlike like just trying to be spiritually perfect or high up, and just wishing or trying to be better,

it’s a practice of working with my daily life as it as is, taking action that causes a tangible change result, and this makes it a work well worth doing.

So. Metta is a way to wake us up out of a trance of smallness and seeing that our inner goodness is bigger than we thought, and over time this can dissolve the identity of an isolated deficient self.

2 Mins

The practice of loving kindness is really where You are leaving the controlled environment of a temple monastery, You’re bringing the practice to the world.

Each time you set an intention is like planting a little tiny seed, and those little seeds will grow.

This makes every moment in life a learning opportunity, and ill illustrate this,

Imagine that you’re driving down the road and someone cut you off in traffic,

You can imagine what your normal reactions would be in this situation,

you judge the person, react to the person, and then judge yourself for reacting.

With metta, you change what would have happened, and this creates a new pattern.

You could send the driver an intention to be well, not react in the way you would have, and then send the same wish towards your own self-judgment.

5 mins

So Buddha once said,

  • People who like you
  • People who hate you
  • People who are indifferent to you.

To me these are like three different fields of soil. It’s easy to plant seeds and feel compassion in the fertile soil of people who like you. It’s more difficult to plant seeds in the rough soil of people who hate you. It’s hard to plant seeds in the barren fields of those who are indifferent to you.

So, Metta is like gardening fields over time.

It’s working on a little bit of fertile space, planting seeds there, watering it a little, and then bringing some of that water, some of that kindness, and spreading some of the excess into another other field of soil. So you take some of the fruit of the sense of lovingkindness you feel towards another, and then carry some of that back to yourself.

“Chop wood, carry water.”

As you silently whisper a phrase,

you can Imagine how it might be for this person to experience to experience the fruit of this blessing, the fullness of love, self acceptance, peace, joy, and freedom, and notice how much you would love for that person to feel this way.

extra if time

Some last tips,

  • You can use whatever words resonate most in the moment,
  • whisper your prayer aloud
  • say the name of the person you’re praying for
  • imagine them feeling loved and uplifted by your prayer.

And for a moment we can close our eyes and offer the following wish,

May all beings be filled with lovingkindness, may all beings know great and natural peace. May there be peace on earth, peace everywhere. May all beings awaken; may all be free.