When I was first introduced to metta meditation, the aspect I appreciated most was the idea of sending metta out into the universe. Especially when difficult events were happening in the world, when I felt hopeless about the state of the earth, sending my lovingkindness outward was something tangible that I could do.
We are able – as individuals even! – to change the energy in the world. It feels very good to offer metta outward.
As I continue with the early stages of my metta practice, I notice how different it feels to focus this lovingkindness on myself. I don’t find it challenging, but certainly more intimate, less exciting. It’s ‘quieter’ to focus my metta inward.
As I go about my day, silently repeating my phrases to myself, the words feel like magic to my soul, the remedy for my standard guilt and expectations, forgiveness for my shortcomings. I concentrate on the words and try to feel them deeply.
May I be happy.
May I be well.
May I be free from suffering.
May I know love.
May I be peaceful.
I am reminded of the teachings of the Venerable Dhammarakkhita:
“We can’t rely on metta from an external source, from another being. However, if you develop lovingkindness for yourself, then you can depend upon that, you can rely upon that. Your own lovingkindness is the only certain or sure and dependable lovingkindness in the universe.”