metta vs. envy round one

Metta is the hardest for me – apparently both to practice and to write about. How to engage my brain enough to repeat the phrases without letting it get overstimulated? Sometimes I just focus on the final word: happy, peaceful, safe, offering the rest of the phrase as a sentiment from my heart rather than a fully formed thought from my head.

The other problem: I can never think of anyone in the really problematic category. I’ve done such great work that I have nothing but boundless love for everyone! Right…

I may not have any enemies or vendettas I can think of, but I know there’s plenty of messy stuff to work with. So this week I’ve been digging in and acknowledging the more subtle stuff that’s easier not to own up to. Creepy crawly stuff like envy.

I wanted to think of someone before I started my practice so I wouldn’t be on the cushion racking my brain for the difficult category. My mind veered to someone I hardly know, the girlfriend of a friend who embodies the balance I aspire to in life. As I worked through the first day’s practice my friend fell into the first category…may you be happy…. Next I found myself sending metta towards their son, whom I met in passing…may you be safe…. Then finally I moved on to the strong, beautiful woman who shares a life I have to admit I’m envious of. I tried to let go of my assumptions of her reality and send boundless lovingkindness her way…may you live with ease… Then it felt right to direct the metta towards their whole family as a unit: may you be happy, together… Moving on from them to the universal “we” reminded me to embrace joy and fulfillment and balance wherever I cross paths with it. And maybe acknowledging the creepy crawlies of my envy will help me channel those traits I’m envious of back into my own life. May we all be happy…

– Adina S.