Yoga, Breath, Light, Love
I am being totally honest here when I tell you that the first time I heard the word Metta I immediately conjured up an image of a little, white-haired grandma with that coarse, gray hair jutting out from the mole on her chin and those cute little round glasses that appear to have no frames. You all know the image, right? And to counter the hair on her chinny, chin, chin, my grandma is kind, loving, nurturing and of course, a great cook! What? Yours doesn’t cook?? That’s fine…but you don’t know what you are missing….there isn’t anything this little granny can’t cook!
So…anyway…….I’m skipping along…singing a song…well not really, but the two phrases do fit so well together…oops, there I go again….off topic…SOO there I am with the cutest, sweetest, little Metta that you can imagine in my mind, when I come across an article about Metta….yeah, you heard me, somebody was writing about my grandma. OR NOT!
As it turns out, and surprisingly enough, Metta has absolutely nothing to do with my grandma, or yours, or anybody elses! It actually is a form or meditation and/or loving kindness. What?!? Well…there goes grandma. Ha…what a knucklehead right??
Check out wikapedia’s description : Mettā (Pāli; Devanagari: मेत्ता) or maitrī (मैत्री) (Sanskrit) is loving-kindness, friendliness, benevolence, amity, friendship, good will, kindness, love, sympathy, close mental union (on same mental wavelength), and active interest in others. It is one of the ten pāramīs of the Theravāda school of Buddhism, and the first of the four sublime states (Brahmavihāras). This is love without clinging (upādāna).
Contemporary instruction for the cultivation of loving-kindness — such as is found in the works of Sharon Salzberg, the Triratna Buddhist Community‘s Kamalashila, and Matthieu Ricard — is often based in part on a method found in Buddhaghosa‘s 5th c. CE Pāli exegetical text, the Path to Purification (Pali:Visuddhimagga), Chapter IX. This traditional approach is best known for identifying successive stages of meditation during which one progressively cultivates loving-kindness towards:
One should avoid choosing someone to whom one is sexually attracted or who is dead. For a “neutral” person, choose someone that you might come into contact with every day, but who does not give rise to strong positive nor strong negative emotions. For a “difficult” person, traditionally choose an enemy, but avoid choosing a person who has just wrecked your life, unless you are very well grounded in awareness.
Matthieu Ricard has recommended we choose to meditate on somebody for whom it is very easy for us to feel unconditional love and compassion.
WOW…so yeah……just a tad different from my original concept wouldn’t you agree? And while I am already beginning to miss my sweet little granny and the fabulous lentil soup and home-made bread she is so famous for making (oh yeah….I had a whole menu of fabulous items my dear old grandma made for me!)…I LOVE the loving kindness Metta. Same fabulous flavor with a decidedly different consistency! But my palate is TOTALLY ready for this Metta. In fact, I didn’t even know I needed this Metta until I read the article. Now I cannot imagine life without it.
And I love the concept of the successive stages…taking it a step at a time…so very yoga like. In fact, I love it so much that I have added 2 people who fall under #4 to my vision board…YEP….I actually have a vision board (see my previous vision board blog) and these two folks are visually with me every day receiving more Metta than they knew existed! And guess what??? It is very empowering and freeing to send loving, kind thoughts in the direction where it is most needed! So give it try….see what you think.
Now….where is that grandma of mine??? I am starving and I need a great big hug!!
Peace and warmth,
There’s more on Metta here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mett%C4%81 if you are interested.