I like to say that Metta, or lovingkindness, is my jam. It’s the practice that’s made the biggest impact on my life and completely transformed my relationship with myself and the world. Before my practice, I was so utterly full of judgement against myself, as well as being in judgement of all those that crossed my path. Critical harshness would be an understatement to describe my inner life. It was hell and I suffered greatly over it.
Thankfully, after making a long term commitment to practicing Metta, I started to treat myself and all my actions, words and thoughts, with kindness and gentleness. I began to experience a base level of contentment and happiness that I’ve never previously experienced, my whole life. What’s been really interesting is how phrases of lovingkindness just naturally arise, unintentionally, now. When I see a woman pushing her baby in a stroller, on the side of the road, I meet her and her little one with the phrases “may you happy “, “may you be well” and “may you peaceful”. In addition, the homeless, the wildlife in my neighborhood, even the aggressive drivers on the way to work, they all are the recipients of these automatically arising phrases. On top on everything, it’s so much easier not to fill my heart with hate and repeat the stories, over and over, in my head, of my idea of how things should be anyway different than the way things actually are.
So here we are, week 3, lovingkindness and compassion. And I SO need it. 3 days ago, I found out an old friend was on life support and things didn’t look good. The sadness and sorrow hit me like a sack of bricks. The word was my friend was unresponsive and they were most likely going to be pulling the plug. Before my practice, many years ago, I would have run away from those uncomfortable feelings. Drugs and alcohol would have been part of the self medication too. These days I’ve learned to turned toward the pain and meet it with compassion, thanks to Sharon and other great teachers. In the last few days, I’ve offered my buddy, and myself, probably 1000 phrases of metta. “May you be at peace”, “may you be free from suffering”, “may your family and friends live with ease”. At 1:30pm yesterday, after receiving the final news, I began to use the phrase “may you be reborn in happy realms”.
This practice brings me comfort and freedom. Not repressing, denying or running away, but meeting the difficult and painful with friendliness and kindness. Doesn’t matter if they are alive or dead, near or far. What matters is how I hold it in my heart. Right now I have tears in my eyes and I miss my friend…but it’s all manageable. I can get through this.
I love you and miss you, Aaron. May you be at rest. May you be reborn in happy realms.
Sending metta to you all- gary
against the stream