how do you do mettā

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Re: how do you do mettā

Post by rightviewftw » Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:53 am

EmptyShadow wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:50 am
rightviewftw wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:10 pm
Also i looked up Venerable Bhikkhu Pesala's instruction ... ngkindness

Very interested in hearing how it works out for people
Venerable Pesala have another book about Metta on his site. You may be interested in reading it as well.
thanks mate,
this is most relative to my interest:) The metta thing is quite awesome as it turns out
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

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Re: how do you do mettā

Post by Laurens » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:32 am

I thought I'd highlight some ways in which I practice metta.

Firstly is of course the traditional practise that the OP mentioned. I like Jack Kornfield's phrasing, I may not have it remembered exactly but I cite:

May I [/he/she/they/all beings] be happy,
May I be well
May I be peaceful and at ease
May my heart be filled with loving kindness

I do this in seated meditation and also when I am out and about, directing it towards any people I see around me (or myself if I'm alone). This is the bulk of my practice.

I also reflect upon the uselessness of holding onto ill will towards people. It will not affect them if harbour thoughts of anger and hatred towards someone, it will only create suffering for you.

I similarly reflect that difficult people are usually difficult because they are hurting. They are angry and in pain, and they deal with it by becoming bitter and taking it out on others. Sometimes all it takes is for you not to reflect that back at them but to treat them with kindness to break through their patterns which cause them to be difficult to others. If you're having trouble with someone try doing something nice for them, it might just break down all their barriers.

Also I use the image of the Buddha as the symbol of utmost love and compassion. I reflect on the fact that I can bring this forth in myself. I too can become a channel for this and bring it into my life.
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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Re: how do you do mettā

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:12 am

The thing about Metta is we have to make a quick observation of our existing emotions before we do it, and this requires a little bit of housekeeping before doing it. So quickly to imagine the issues that might come up, examine the things that make up your practice. First examine your environment, sometimes because of how you feel is affected by how the world is around you, check your surroundings. Is it cluttered? Clean it up and see how it affects your mood. Is it dark or dim? Light up the room and see how it affects your mood. Is it noisy? Go to a quieter place or play white noise see how it affects your mood. Is your job and family driving you crazy? Take a retreat, go to the park and see how it affects your mood. Heck, just one visit to an animal shelter to play with puppies changed my ability to muster up metta one day when I was upset. Sometimes when we're upset we have to go to a novel place or take new steps in your life to build up a change of pace.

Next patiently examine your body and physical sensations. A strong but comfortable posture might change how well you are able to do metta. If you're used to doing metta and not feeling enough building up, change your position and posture. If you usually sit, stand up or lie down instead of sitting and examine how this affects your emotions. Practice relaxation of the body and let your body be as relaxed as you can, almost like you are feeling the warmth of your head melt butter and as it rolls down relax every muscle. Sometimes a body scan can reveal tightness and discomfort. It's pretty hard to wish metta if your knee's cramping, your leg's asleep and your nose itches. Wait until the body is relaxed as you can get it, and then begin the practice.

Then take into account your thoughts. Your inner narrative might go, "May, I be happy" and then immediately go, "MAY? That's so weird, I don't talk like that this feels fake, oh NO... it's FAKE!" and you'll feel discouraged and the concentration breaks. Don't get stuck on things like words, change it to your own words. It can vary anywhere from the traditional "In safety and in happiness, may I/they be at ease", to a simple positive affirmation "They/I will be happy!", just make it your own, make it sincere, and patiently let the self-defeating thoughts go. Once you use your own words and feel the way it is meant to feel, it'll come naturally. Your awareness of thoughts gives you a choice here to be negative or to strive on. Reflect on the words you're choosing. If you're doing the "May they be well, happy, and free from suffering" be specific. Look into your mind and think of what it would mean for the person to be well. What would it mean for the person to be happy? What would it mean for the person to be free from suffering. Make sure you figure this out BEFORE practice of metta.

Then if all of these things don't give you a definite change then talk to someone about what's hurting you, what is making you mad, what's making you upset. In so many cases it's because you're holding in resentment and pain that when you try and do Metta you're left at a loss for what to do. Sure you cherish your friend X, but lately you feel Y and it's interrupting your ability to get the Warm And Fuzzy Feelings (WAFF) required to get the metta going. Talk to someone, a trusted friend and get comfort. It'll give you a wave of positivity and a chance to reframe your pain so you can instead practice without hangups.

Now that was the housekeeping, you're ready for metta? Let's go.

You can try using words, deeds, and thoughts to help you cultivate Metta. Just like before you're aware of your body and patiently be kind to it. Make positive affirmations to yourself. "May I be well, may I be happy, may I be free from suffering." Now a lot of people are taught to not like themselves, but if self defeating thoughts come up, roll your mind into a flood of positive self-affirmations. You're doing this because you value the happiness of others, and your selfless good will makes you a worthy individual. The will to free yourself from suffering in samsara as a disciple of the Buddha makes you a worthy person. Cherish that truth within yourself.

Then think of a good companion. A friend. Think of all those times you just felt great about being with your friend. Think of a specific memory where you were happy and enjoying the best and most wholesome things about friendship. Then the words seed in, "May they be well, may they be happy, may they be free from suffering." (classic example, remember use your own words seeded with the meaning you gave it and examine the exercise). Remember we believe in kamma; every word, deed, and thought releases conditions that would make this happiness, wellness, and freedom impossible. So imagine you're actually seeding in the conditions yourself into the universe by your practice and will this happiness for your friend. It becomes less hard to imagine it as concentrated good will meant to sow a seed of change. Then let this feeling emanate in all four directions, above and below, and all around. Once you feel like this has permeated outwards, expand it further. Think of someone who is neutral and do the same thing. Then think of a person who you've been feeling difficulties with. Do the very same thing and then expand beyond your social circle. Let the metta go beyond everything you even know. Then "May all beings be well, may they be happy, may they be free from suffering."

And of course the very sutta mentions how it should be done in detail!
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

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Re: how do you do mettā

Post by salayatananirodha » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:35 am

First look at the instructions preceding "(Let him think:) 'May all beings be happy and safe. May they have happy minds.'":

1. "He who is skilled in (working out his own) well being, and who wishes to attain that state of Calm (Nibbana) should act thus: he should be dexterous, upright, exceedingly upright, obedient, gentle, and humble.

2. "Contented, easily supportable, with but few responsibilities, of simple livelihood, controlled in the senses, prudent, courteous, and not hanker after association with families.

3. "Let him not perform the slightest wrong for which wise men may rebuke him.
(I've used Piyadassi Thera's translation ... .piya.html)
A lot of Buddhists will present mettā meditation like it's the easiest part of the practice (if they're not ignoring it altogether), but your love in this respect won't travel far if you are conceited, excessively high-maintenance, don't follow the precepts and so on. Done well, it's actually very advanced practice and is supposed to take you into jhanas and to nibbāna
So calming your verbal and bodily actions is where I'd start, then see if it occurs "sabbe sattā sukhi hontu (may all beings be happy or fare well)"

"Let him not deceive another nor despise anyone anywhere. In anger or ill will let him not wish another ill.
Seeing ill will as the defilement it is will further aid in this practice. See it clearly and watch it dissolve?
"Just as a mother would protect her only child with her life even so let one cultivate a boundless love towards all beings.
This apparent sacrifice is something I've not gotten far into. I wonder if mothers have an advantage here.
"Let him radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.
Develop the above and then just really keep doing that then? :shrug:
"Standing, walking, sitting or reclining, as long as he is awake, let him develop this mindfulness. This, they say, is 'Noble Living' here.
This clearly refers to satipatthana practice.
Well, these are my notes. Sorry I couldn't be of more help. :hug:
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


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