The Attitude of Metta:
I think Metta is about the same thing Jesus was talking about when he taught Love, but we haven't a widespread understanding of this practice in our culture today. Metta is not just a feeling; it's a very active attitude; it's taking action, mental action:
Some of the ways the meditation can be phrased:
Metta to oneself
I enjoy sending healing energy to others. But I also do sessions of Metta when I focus compassion on myself and don't move on to others. This gives me practice in receptivity; in trusting that there's healing energy available in the universe, that I deserve to receive it as much as any other being. It's not easy. When I first tried it, I found myself sitting in my chair crying, meditating on my crying, discharging grief Id had no idea what to do with, grief for my lost health. More recently I have needed to do more of this as I struggle with feeling guilty about not measuring up to the way "you're supposed to" meditate. I am amazed at the resistance my mind has to giving myself that nourishment, and to accepting it.
Pema Chodron (who uses the Pali, maitri) is very helpful to me in learning to be gentle with myself.
How Metta Works
The other Brahma-Vihara techniques
Elsewhere on the Web:
© copyright Catherine Holmes Clark, 1999 & 2001; last updated 27 November 2000