My first exposure to the metta practice was just a couple years ago, at a sitting led by Sharon. It felt like revolution. The idea that having compassion for others might be predicated on first having compassion for myself wasn’t new to me. It stands to reason. But the depth of the gift-giving was humbling. Happiness and peace. Health and strength. Safety and protection. A life lived with ease. To myself, my benefactors and my adversaries. To those nameless embodied, those people I so often look right through in my day-to-day transactional life.
If I didn’t blush on that first pass, I probably should have…
In practicing metta, I could learn to cut myself some slack, and let rest some of the anger and resentment cultivated over many years. For this week’s practice, I decided to dig into some of that darkness from the past, and give some space to those feelings.
I’ve been bringing my present self into the practice this week. So, too, the young Kurt, who shut himself in his room to escape torment; and the teenage Kurt, whose home life felt ripped up from within. I’m offering them the gifts of metta, too—to ease the vice grip on so much that I’d prefer not to remember, and, time willing, to ease my wounded heart.
This week’s practice has been upending and uncomfortable, stirring and hopeful. It’s another start—another beginning again—and that feels like lovingkindness to me.
– Kurt Lindsey