Metta is a Buddhist term that means infinite loving-kindness. It is a quality of mind but also a practice. We send it first to ourselves: 'May I be well. May I be at ease. May I be happy' -- general well-wishing, not asking for specific outcomes, like 'May I get that raise.' Then we send it out into the world, to specific people in need, and then to all beings: May all beings be well. May all beings be at ease. May all beings be at peace. May all beings be happy. 

This is such a wonderful practice. In the middle of a difficult meditation, when the mind is glued to solving some life problem, it is hugely helpful to send metta to that problem or person, and then return to the breath. The practice is all we can do, and the best we can do, in that moment.

Since my two intentions in life are to be present in this moment and to be compassionate with myself and others, metta practice is very much a part of how I am able to live my resolve. My students have also found it to be a very useful practice. To listen to an audio recording of the practice, visit my blog.

You can send metta from any distance. Sometimes you have a person in your life who is very draining, who activates difficult volatile emotions in you, and you aren’t feeling strong enough to be with them.

I have taught and written so much about metta over the past decade that I’m just going to supply links to blog posts that address particular concerns.

Anxiety about the election?
This post is from another political season, where we explore sending loving-kindness to the candidate we are voting against. Now there’s a challenge that brings up the true meaning of metta and adds clarity to our understanding. 

Trouble with a relationship?
This post includes examples from my students about the difference sending metta has made in their relationships. 

Are there people you think don’t deserve loving-kindness?
This is an exploration with good stories and examples of the infinite quality of metta and the trouble with trying to withhold it from the ‘undeserving’. 

 

Published by Stephanie Noble