Along with “What Makes Us Free?” — a dialogue between Insight meditation teachers Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein — our January magazine includes “How to Do Metta,” Jack’s guidance on beginning the practice of loving-kindness meditation. Here, author and educator Janice Lynne Lundy shares her perspective on the practice — why she loves it, and why it goes with her everywhere.
My favorite form of meditation is “Metta,” or loving-kindness practice. Here’s why: When I say the four phrases of blessing, first, for myself …
May I be happy.
May I be healthy and strong.
May I be safe.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
... I remember that it is good to be kind to myself; to hold myself in loving embrace as I am; to be gentle, open, forgiving, and accepting.
When I repeat the four phrases again, it opens me up: to wise others, loved ones, friends, you, people I don’t even know, everyone on the planet. Metta helps me connect with your essence, your inner beauty, your pain and suffering. Again, I am softened into compassion.
I try to take the Metta mindset with me wherever I go; it serves as portable peace. I stand in line at the grocery store, noticing someone’s downcast face.
May you find ease and know happiness today.
In American Eagle, music blaring, shopping with my teen daughter, I notice a young mother struggling with two babies in a stroller. She is trying to shop for herself, yet her children tug and pull. Her frustration grows.
May you know patience. May you feel comforted.
This morning my husband awoke with his “ego blaring,” as he puts it. I lay my hand on his heart and silently offer Metta to him.
My sweetheart, may you be at peace today. May your day unfold with ease.
This is why I do metta. It lets me lead with love.
May YOU be happy.
May you be well, healthy, and strong for the day ahead.
May you be safe and secure.
May you be peaceful and at ease with all the circumstances of your life.
Janice Lynne Lundy is a long-term student of mindfulness and Metta who sources her life, writing, and teaching in the practice of compassion. She is an Interfaith Spiritual Director/Mentor and the author of several books including, The Mindful Mommy’s Back-to-School Survival Guide. She is also the founder and editor of the online magazine/community, “Meditate Like A Girl.” You can connect with Jan via her website: www.JanLundy.com
Previously by Jan here on the Shambhala Sun website: ‘Tis the Season for Compassion.