Week 1, Day 6: Metta and Life
On the sixth day of meditating for one hour, morning and evening, I continued to practice Jack Kornfield’s approach to loving-kindness meditation in How to Do Metta. Last night I changed it a little. Recall that his instruction is to offer all four phrases to a loved one, one phrase at a time. Then all four phrases to another loved one, then receiving those cued feelings as you imagine them lovingly offer the phrases to you.
Instead of that, last night a more direct exchange took place. It began as usual: I imagined a loved one and offered him the first phrase of loving-kindness (“May you be safe.”).
Then the meditation took its own turn.
He offered me the phrase back. It continued like this. Sitting with the experience of offering metta followed by experiencing receiving it back. A true dialogue. These shortened cycles of exchange shifted the meditation from imaginal to real. With each person who entered my mind and heart, the reality of our connection created more and more grounding.
Along with this practice (six days in now), I’ve noticed several times when I simply haven’t felt uncomfortable around new people and in new situations. This is so different from what I’m used to that it’s taken me off guard.
Is metta working more deeply than I’ve been aware?
Tara Brach speaks of a false sense of separation that can creep its way into our lives—causing the perception of otherness between people and within ourselves. Perhaps opening to receive loving-kindness from others provides a salve that some parts of the self have needed. Receiving their birthright of care during metta, they stay calm as I proceed through daily life. The illusion of separation is losing some of its strength.
How is loving-kindness meditation working for you?