What is the Practice of Metta?
Becoming more present in your life each day is a great way to lower your stress levels. One way you can do this is by practicing Metta for 12 days in a row and then use it whenever you feel stress or tension in any situation.
You may be thinking, “Paulette, what in the heck is Metta?” I am so glad you asked!!
Metta means 'love' (in a non-romantic sense), friendliness, or kindness. It is an emotion, something you feel in your heart. It signifies friendship and non-violence, "a strong wish for the happiness of others" and also showing patience and appreciation for others even if you do not like them. Benevolence is a very specific feeling of caring for the well-being of another living being, separate from approving or disapproving of them, or expecting anything in return. A Metta practice includes reciting specific words and phrases in order to create unlimited warm-hearted feelings for those you are thinking about.
To start, find a place to sit comfortably and quietly without any disruptions. Bring your attention to your breath and relax your shoulders and jaw. Bring a smile to your face and close your eyes. Move your attention to your heart center and feel warmth there. Feel love and friendliness towards yourself. It may help to think of a memory that brings you joy. When you feel that love, silently offer yourself the following blessing:
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be safe.
May all your dreams come true.
Choose words that feel right for you, that assist you in increasing the warmth in your heart. Next bring to mind a cherished family member or friend and again bring your attention back to your heart and the love that is there. When you have the face of the person in your mind, offer them the same blessing. Now, bring to mind a neutral person such as a neighbor or a teacher. Send warmth to your heart, smile and offer them the same blessing. Now, bring to mind an enemy or someone you have a hard time relating to. Stay with the warmth in your heart and if you need to, go back to think of that memory that brings you so much joy. With love in your heart and a smile on your face say this same blessing to this person. Finally, take a moment and see all the people you have blessed, including yourself, as one being. Think of all of humanity and nature as joining into this one person and with a smile on your face and warmth in your heart repeat the blessing.
This small act of loving kindness can make a big difference in your day. Try the 12 days of Metta and then know that you can always use this blessing whenever you are having a rough day at work or at home with your family. It is a great way to de-stress, as well as become more present in your everyday life. This practice does not take very long to do each day, but do remember to really stop and think about each person and the genuine blessing you are giving them. Fill your New Year with friendship and loving kindness.
Do you have a type of “Metta” that you do to help you deal with stressful moments or people?
Here are some links to the explain more about this practice: