The very first time I experienced metta meditation, I was moved to tears. I felt a deep and profound connection with the practice, in the way that we do when we remember something we’ve long forgotten. In fact, every time I’ve sat a metta meditation, I’ve felt a deep sense of awakening: it seems to me that a metta session is unwavering evidence about the interconnectedness of our universe. That I can physically feel this blissful sensation of sending and receiving love is proof to me that the “myself” I know extends far beyond my body.
Metta is often defined as “lovingkindness.” It was originally taught by the Buddha as the antidote to fear. As a practice, it is about setting the intention in our minds for our own happiness and the happiness of all other beings.
Metta practice is about the core of our daily existence: how we are oriented toward ourselves, others, and life itself. It is to develop, as the venerable Dhammarakkhita teaches, “a peace of heart, and peace of mind. When we feel it within ourselves then we can share it with others.”
Since those first experiences with metta meditaitons, I have felt compelled to learn and practice more. Since my personal life isn’t currently conducive to running away to a retreat, it came to me recently that I should undertake my own intensive metta study.
With that in mind, I have set forth The Metta Project.
- I will walk through the stages of metta practice, using prescribed meditation time each day, and also offering metta energy during waiting/free time.
- In keeping with traditional metta practice, I will move through the sequence of metta to myself, a benefactor, a friend, a neutral person, and finally an enemy. I intend to focus my practice on each for one week, or once I feel that I can offer my lovingkindness freely and completely.
- Formal meditation time will focus on the repetition of specific metta phrases: May I be well. May I be happy. May I be free from inner and outer suffering. May I know know love. May I know peace.
- As I encounter other beings in my daily life, I will (silently) offer them metta.
I will make observations about my experience and pay attention to the effects of metta at work in my life.
“Develop a mind so filled with love it resembles space.” – Buddha