This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
At this point in our Metta practice, we have explored practicing with all of the categories in a variety of ways. As I have shared, it is really up to you how you would like to practice. There may be days you just practice for yourself; there may be some when you feel to do the full practice and some when you choose specific categories to work with. This is one of the gifts of Metta practice. Your practice can be adapted on a daily basis or you may wish to practice in a certain way for a period of time. For the rest of our time together, we will explore a few more ways to practice, but at this point, you have all you need to create your own daily practice.
Daily Practice: Do your foundational practices. Find a comfortable position. Imagine yourself in the center of a circle of loving beings or enveloped in the feeling of loving-kindness. Allow your self to connect deeply with your own heart center. Whenever you feel to, offer the Metta phrases for yourself:
- May I be happy.
- May I be peaceful.
- May I be free of suffering.
- May I have ease of well-being.
In addition to your sitting practice, remember to come back to your heart and do your foundational practices several times throughout the day, especially when you are experiencing stress or difficult emotions. When you feel complete with generating the feeling of loving-kindness and offering it to yourself, begin to consider which categories you would like to practice for today:
- Neutral Being
- Difficult Person
- All Beings
As you begin to extend Metta to whichever beings you choose, say to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and peaceful, so does this being wish to have inner peace and joy.” Begin to offer the phrases:
- May you be happy.
- May you be peaceful.
- May you be free of suffering.
- May you have ease of well-being.
Whenever you feel complete with a category, come back to your heart center for a few moments before going on to the next one. You may wish to explore practicing for a longer period of time with some or all of the categories. As always, let your heart be your guide.
When you have completed your practice, take some time to dedicate the merit for the benefit of all beings without exception. Spend a few moments reflecting on your practice and expressing gratitude for your experience in a way that feels appropriate to you.
Journal Notes: How did it feel to create your own practice? Are you noticing you are more comfortable practicing for some categories and than others? Did you have any difficult feelings arise during your practice? Are you remembering to practice for yourself when difficult thoughts or feelings arise throughout the day? Have you shared your experiences of Metta with anyone in your life?
May you day be filled with sunshine and happiness.