The Buddha shared that as an individual practices Metta and cultivates the energy of Loving-kindness within, there will be 11 benefits that are experienced:
- You will sleep easy.
- You will wake easily.
- You will have pleasant dreams.
- People will love you.
- Devas or celestial beings and animals will love you.
- Devas or celestial beings will protect you.
- External dangers will not harm you.
- Your face will be radiant.
- Your mind will be serene.
- You will die unconfused.
- You will be reborn in happy realms.
Today, we begin to extend the field of our practice of Metta, Loving-kindness practice out beyond ourselves and to another being. We will continue to start by cultivating loving-kindness and compassion for our own self, as this is always considered the foundation for offering it to others. Then, we continue by offering Metta to someone who has been a help to us in our life. Traditionally, this category is referred to as the Benefactor or Mentor.
A Benefactor/Mentor is someone who has been generous and kind to us. They have taught us, supported us and inspired us in some way. When we think of them, we feel loved and supported; we have great gratitude for them being a part of our lives. Just thinking of this being generates a smile. Some of the options to choose from include: a beloved teacher, mentor, grandparent, a pet, a child or even something you love in nature. Often, in the beginning of Metta practice, it is suggested to work with a Benefactor who is a living person as this can help to deepen our level of concentration.
Daily Practice – Do your foundational practices. Begin by getting comfortable and settling in to your breath. Spend a few moments centering on your heart, recalling a moment you felt immersed in unconditional love or see yourself in the center of your circle of loving beings. By now, you have developed a sense of how to connect with the energy of loving-kindness. Allow your self to feel enveloped in this loving feeling. Begin to send Metta to yourself by repeating the phrases you have been working with.
When you feel centered in loving-kindness, call upon the image of the being that you will work with as your Benefactor/Mentor for today. Invite an image or a feeling of them into your mind and let yourself feel what it feels like to be in the presence of that being. Really allow yourself to enjoy the feeling of being with that person as if you are really with them. Remember, this is someone whose image makes you instantly smile.
Begin by saying to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.” Then, begin repeating the phrases for your benefactor softly and gently:
- May you be happy.
- May you be peaceful.
- May you be free of suffering.
- May you have ease of well-being.
As you work with the Benefactor/Mentor today, notice how you feel about the phrases you have chosen. Do you want to adjust them as you begin to work with others or continue with the phrases you have been working with for yourself?
If you notice your mind has wandered, return to the phrases and the image of your Benefactor. Continue practicing for your Benefactor/Mentor for as long as you wish. Also, it is important to remember that if at any point you are having difficulty focusing or particularly with difficult feelings arising, you can always return your practice to yourself for a time and then shift your attention back to your Benefactor/Mentor when you feel to.
When you feel you have completed working with your Benefactor/Mentor, return to the image of sitting in your circle of loving beings or connect with your heart center. Allow the feeling of loving-kindness to really sink into you, into every atom and cell of your being. Let it surround and envelope you. As you open you eyes, returning to your life and the world, let this energy carry you forward into your daily experiences and interactions. Notice how it feels to move into the day from a heart-centered place in this conscious way.
Journal Notes – How did it feel to begin to practice Metta for another being? Did it seem easier or harder than practicing for your self? How is your practice going? Are there any obstacles you are becoming aware of? Are you remembering to return your practice to yourself when you are having difficult emotions arise or difficulty concentrating? Are you able to bring your practice into your daily life in some way?
May your day be filled with love, light and peace.