Teenage Mind.

Metta can be such a powerful practice.  I was thinking earlier this week about how, as a troubled teen (most teens are, I guess, at one point or another) I would get so lost in my thoughts, so buried at times by the darkening cloud of confusion, anger, self-doubt, that not long after came the self-recriminations for feeling those things and it would create a vicious cycle.  If I only knew back then that these thoughts could be parsed, that they were part of you but also separate from you.  Of you, but not you, in a sense.  That though they held enormous power over your moods, your actions, possibly the direction of your life, they could be disarmed or at least seen clearly for what they were:  the often static noise of your mind.  And you could watch them and leave them alone.  You didn’t have to give in to them, and you didn’t have to believe them.  Back then, when the thoughts circled into a darkening cloud it seemed like a prison at times.  And to layer on top of those tough feelings the self-judgements that I did at the time–just terrible, it was very hard on me.  I wish I could talk to that younger self, and introduce this practice of metta.  Negativity and alarm, which I’ve read is often our natural inclination from our early days of needing to be vigilant around wild animals on the hunt, is still with us but no longer productive.  This quick reflex to veer to the watchful, the unsafe, the suspecting, is also triggered by our alarmist news cycle and the constant onslaught of media from all platforms.  Turning around this negative outlook, staying open, loving yourself, withholding judgement, these are all powerful aspects of metta practice.  In our troubled global world (not so far off from a troubled teenage mind) metta can be a transformative practice, a way to not only protect ourselves from our worst tendencies, but a way to also then help others.