Metta has been so beneficial to my emotional well being. I hear a lot in Buddhist circle about the balance of Wisdom and Compassion. Like both wings on a bird. That with out one the bird would be off balance and so with our practice. If i were to just be aware of all of the anger present and that was it then what? There also has to be this piece in my opinion, where i meet that anger or what ever arises with compassion, with kindness. So how do I go from hating my unpleasant difficult emotions, experiences, to caring about them? Let me go back some....
I grew up here in LA to two addicted parents, my dad left when i was very young, had no memory of him, and he was gone my whole childhood. Came back into the picture when i was 16 and was very violent and i was super afraid of him...and i can remember that all i wanted was to be acknowledge and love by my parents. my dad sold drugs and not having any other role models i think on some subconscious level i wanted to be like him. I was in a gang and lived a very violent life.(I don't say this to seem like a tough guy, because i was actually really scared)and when living in this type of environment where your out to hurt before you get hurt, you think everyone else is thinking the same way. The following years of my life were some of the hardest. The selling drugs, violence, jails, homelessness. Not realizing that the things i was doing were perpetuating my suffering. And feeling and of loss, hurt abandonment, set in motion this effort to protect myself, and also set in motion this cycle of self abuse. Its was like i put on these glasses and what i saw was a stupid, damaged, unlovable, mean, violent, hopeless, junky loser. And the practice has allowed me to remove these glasses and to see the truth. To see my intrinsic value and to care about all of me, the beautiful, the unskillful. I've found that there isn't anything that isn't deserving of my love. And so Lovingkindness is the tool, the practical practice that allows me to live in this Samaric realm, where people leave, and die and betray and abandon, with an open heart. Because of how i grew up I thought that my heart was something i was supposed to protect from the world and I have come to realize that it is my gift to the world.
So back to the question of how one goes from hating pain to being kind to it or caring for it. well one practices. I was tired of the judging, comparing, hating mind. So as foreign as this love shit was to me, i as willing to practice because i wanted some ease. And so at first, all i could do was tolerate the pain, then, was able to show it a little mercy and then eventually there came a point where there was some genuine care, some authentic kindness to my direct experience with pain. ahhhhhh so much easier this way.
I can see as i practice, really genuinely practice and try my best to live a spiritual life that i still mess up and coming to a place where i can love that too, allows me to love that in you. There are always so many cracks of delusion in my resentments, so much hypocrisy. I forget that we all belong to each other and that there is a little bit of good and a little bit of bad in all of us and that we are all doing the best we can with what we believe in and what tools we've been provided. And that no one harms anyone out of wisdom. in my own experience i harm people out of confusion, fear, and deep pain. So as i get to the difficult person in my meditation, i see this truth, forgive and i am able to let go. Seeing that we all just want to be happy and loved.
I love the story of the man who comes across the Buddhas path and trips out on the Buddha and is like "you are radiating loveingkindness, what up?" And the Buddha said " I no longer have ill will or hatred. I have cut it out at the root, and all that remains is a free heart." Thats what this practice means to me. As i practice Metta I am cutting ill will and hated out by the root, and so far so good.
Its been so nice to be apart of this practice with everyone. I loved reading others experience more then writing about mine. But i hope i was helpful.
To everyone everywhere, no one is excluded from my heart. I wish you well my beloveds, I wish you well my sweet souls. I wish you well my beloveds, my you live at ease....
Till we meet again.