Day 31 of May is for Metta 2012: Celebrating Our Journey of Loving-kindness and Compassion

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Day 31

“The purpose of life. ONE GREAT QUESTION underlies our experience, whether we think about it consciously or not: What is the purpose of life?  I have considered this question and would like to share my thoughts in the hope that they may be of direct, practical benefit to those who read them.
 
I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy.  From the moment of birth, every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering.  Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affect this.  From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment.  I don’t know whether the universe, with its countless galaxies, stars and planets, has a deeper meaning or not, but at the very least, it is clear that we humans who live on this earth face the task of making a happy life for ourselves.  Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness…

From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.”- H.H. Dalai Lama on Compassion and The Individual

Today is a day to celebrate.  It is not an ending but a beginning.  Our journey together through May is for Metta has been an opportunity to explore ways to create happiness and peace in ourselves, others and the world.  As the Dalai Lama indicated above – at the core of being human is the desire to be happy.  This is a bond we share as human beings, regardless of our outer differences.

Our sense of separation, from ourselves, others and the world, is an obstacle, which most of us face as we try to create happiness in our lives.  By developing and deepening our connection with our own heart and generating a foundation of loving-kindness and compassion, we have begun the process of bringing more happiness to ourselves and to all beings.  I hope you will do something special today to honor yourself for the efforts you have made to be more open, loving and compassionate.

Daily Practice:  Do you foundational practices.  As you begin your practice today, take a few moments to reflect on any changes you may have experienced since you began May is for Metta.  How has your ability to connect with and generate the qualities of loving-kindness and compassion evolved?  Spend some time in your circle of loving beings or imagining a time you were held in unconditional love.  Really allow yourself to feel those energies enveloping you.  When you feel ready, repeat the phrases for yourself:

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

As we conclude our practice, choose someone from each of the individual categories whom you have already practiced for during May is for Metta and offer Metta again for this being:  Benefactor, Beloved, Neutral Being, and Difficult Person.  Acknowledge that in practicing for this being, you have benefitted by becoming more open-hearted and loving.  As you begin each category, say, “Just as I wish to be peaceful and happy, so does this being wish to have inner peace and joy.”   Repeat the phrases for each category you are working with remembering to come back to your own heart center for a few moments between each category:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free from suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

If you become distracted or difficult feelings arise, use the Switchback, returning the practice to yourself until a sense of calm returns.  When you feel ready, return the practice to where you left off or move on to the next category.   When you are ready move on to the category of All Beings.

To conclude our practice, let’s take a few moments to practice for our virtual sangha; the community of May is for Metta practitioners are spread out all over the world.  For the last 31 days, we have been coming together with our hearts and the intention of creating more loving-kindness and compassion in ourselves, others and the world.  Offer the phrases for our community, including yourself:

  • May we be happy.
  • May we be peaceful.
  • May we be free of suffering.
  • May we have ease of well-being.

When you feel complete, move on to the broader category of All Beings.  As we extend out our practice today, let us remember the words of the Dalai Lama, that at the core, all beings wish to be happy.  Let us dedicate our practice for the benefit of all beings without exception:

  • May All Beings be happy.
  • May All Beings be peaceful.
  • May All Beings be free of suffering.
  • May All Beings have ease of well-being.

To complete your practice, return yourself to your circle of loving beings or envision yourself enveloped in the energy of loving-kindness and compassion.  Let every atom and cell of your being be filled with the energy of loving-kindness and compassion.  Feel these qualities filling you and surrounding you.  Know that you have created a strong foundation of loving-kindness and compassion within yourself and you can now carry that wherever you go.  You are a beacon of loving-kindness and compassion.

Take some time today to reflect on your practice and to explore how you would like to continue.

Journal Notes: How does it feel to be a beacon of loving-kindness and compassion?  What have you noticed about yourself and your practice since you began? How will you work with Metta going forward?  What other practices would you like to explore?  Have you taken time to honor yourself for your efforts?  Don’t forget to take some time today to celebrate!

It has been an honor to share this process of heart exploration with all of you.  I appreciate your willingness and participation in this journey of cultivating loving-kindness and compassion.  I hope you will continue to explore and to share your experiences and reflections.

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free of suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

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Suggestions for Continued Practice

  1. Repeat the practice or select specific posts to work with.  Remember your practice is your own, so find a way that works for you.  I will be indexing the all of the daily practice posts on the May is for Metta page so they will be easily accessible by day and topic; this will be available early next week.  Also, feel free to continue to share your experiences as you continue.
  2. Find a meditation group in your area or start your own Metta meditation practice group.
  3. Check out the May is for Metta Audio Program which will be available on June 11th through my website.
  4. There are some great books on Metta Meditation and Loving-kindness Practice to help you continue your exploration.  Here are a few suggestions:
  • Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg. Shambhala Publications, 2002.
  • The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions by Christopher K. Germer, PhD. Guildord Press, 2009.
  • Awakening Loving-kindness by Pema Chodron.  Shambhala Publications, 2009.
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat Zinn. Hyperion Press, 1994.
  • The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion by Sharon Salzberg. Sounds True, 2010.
  • The Healing Power of Loving-kindness by Tulku Thondup. Shambhala, 2009.
  • One Soul, One Love, One Heart: The Sacred Path to Healing All Relationships by John E. Welshons. New World Library, 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

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About Beth Terrence

Beth Terrence is a Shaman, Facilitator, Holistic Practitioner, Speaker and Writer. With over seventeen years of experience in field of transformation and holistic health, she is a leader in providing Integrative Transformational Healing Programs For Individuals, Groups & Organization. The focus of Beth's work is to facilitate deep transformational healing, assisting her clients in living a more heart-centered, balanced and joyful life through discovering the healer within. Beth offers online transformational resources through her blog, The Heart of Awakening: Searching for a New Paradigm. She is also an author and facilitator for Heal My Voice, an international organization that helps women to heal, grow and step into greater leadership through writing and sharing their stories. To learn more about sessions, programs, teleseminars and other news, visit http://www.bethterrence.com.

2 responses »

  1. Your post and my own journey with lovingkindness have merged into this thought: that it’s developing the art of relating to these different aspects. From this point of view the mantra reads like this:
    May I relate to those I love, better.
    May I relate to those I never think of, more.
    May I relate to those in suffering, with the understanding that all suffering is the same.
    May I find some way to relate to those I find difficult, to understand (“find a way back to the warm place”, I heard a child once say in the context of school bullying.)
    I am always being presented with the truth that we all want happiness, and do things to find it, most of which only brings more suffering, which is why compassion and understanding is needed, otherwise how can we break the negative cycles?

    • Thanks for your note. I love how you have let the words flow in a way that is your own. That is one of the beautiful things about this practice. Thanks for sharing in this journey of loving-kindness and compassion.

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