Oh boy, week 4, lovingkindness...I love me some Metta!! Awhile back, I set an intention to practice Metta daily for a year, as I was finding some difficulty in extending lovingkindness to myself. I went WAY past 365 days, I think it went almost to 2 years of daily Metta...and I can honestly say it changed my whole life. My heart cracked open and I am still blown away by how much love my heart can offer and receive. So I was really looking forward to this week being 7 days of Metta.
This week I am working a tradeshow in Las Vegas, and I am not a big fan of this town. I follow the 5th precept VERY seriously, I don't really like to gamble and strip clubs are not on my to-do list. Because of my work, I have to come to Vegas at least 4 times a year and each trip is about 5-6 days long. Ugh. Since I come here a lot, I have done a lot of research in finding positive things to do while I am in town. Thankfully, 6 months ago I found a Tuesday night mindfulness group that is Thich Nhat Hahn inspired and is attended by the sweetest people. Last night they had a visiting monk named Bhante Sujatha from Chicago leading the group. Take a wild guess what kind of mediation Bhante guided us in? I was pleased with his choice of phrases:
I am happy, I am well, I am peaceful
I have always started my phrases with the wish "may I" but Bhante turned the wishful phrases more into positive affirmations...I liked it! After the sit and his very heartfelt and funny dharma talk, I thanked him and gave him a #mettabomb Buddha Badge I had in my pocket. Bhante then gave me a HUGE hug and I felt loved, appreciated. I just love getting to spend time with monastics.
Anyway, I worked really hard today, had dinner with my old high school friend (go class of '89!) and then came back to my room at The Rio for some late night lovingkindness. Offered the phrases to myself, my wife, the woman I passed singing karaoke earlier tonight, my old boss who sued me in federal court for millions of dollars, out to all beings, everywhere and then back to myself. I don't normally double dip in the Metta to self, but that's where my heart led me tonite. Not bad for guy who had difficulty offering it to myself previously, huh?
I really appreciate the Buddha letting us all know that we can search the whole world over and never find anyone more deserving of our love and affection than ourselves.
Did I mention that I love Metta?
sending BIG waves of lovingkindness in all directions- gary