Have a big enough heart to love unconditionally, and a broad enough mind to embrace the differences that make each of us unique.
-D.B. Harrop, shared by Joshua in Dallas, TX
Humanity is seeing others and saying, ‘I wish you joy, love, health, and abundance.’ Not just those you like or agree with. Every. Single. Person.
-Brendon Burchard, shared by Katie in Madison, WI
Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, is a buddhist practice of cultivating compassion by expressing positive intentions inward towards oneself and outwardly towards others. The basic instruction is to repeat a mantra, applying it first to yourself then shifting the direction of focus to a series of others: someone you care deeply about, someone you know only superficially, someone you dislike or are in conflict with, and finally outward to all people (or all beings).
Here’s a simple example I used for a recent presentation:
May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be at peace.
May _____ be happy. May ____ be healthy. May ____ at peace. (x3)
May all beings be happy. May all beings be healthy. May all beings be at peace.
If your curiosity inspires you to poke around on the interwebs as I have, you’ll discover many alternate translations and variations of mantras to include, such as:
May you be well.
May you be free from pain.
May you be safe.
May you be strong.
May you be at ease.
As you experiment with loving-kindness, you may find that sometimes it is difficult or even impossible to wish positive things for certain people. That’s okay! Don’t think of this as a bad thing or a good thing. It is just a sign of your humanity. When that happens to me (and it does happen to me…a lot), I sometimes find it useful to simply notice this reaction while skipping the temptation to judge it. When I have the bandwidth, I invite myself to get curious and reflect on why I think some people might not deserve these things. Other times, I just switch my focus towards a different person that I find it easier to be generous towards. Being compassionate with myself in this practice helps me generate more compassion for others.
I’ll close this ponder by inviting you to experiment with loving-kindness, and also expressing to YOU, kind human who has taken a minute from your busy life to read this particular issue of Ripples:
May you be happy; may you be healthy; and may you be at…
P.S. Don’t forget you can always visit the Quote Pond when you need a quick lift: http://2rpl.me