“Though we all have the seed of loving-friendliness within us, we must make the effort to cultivate it. When we are rigid, uptight, tense, anxious, full of worries or fears, our natural capacity for loving-friendliness cannot flourish. To nurture the seed of loving-friendliness, we must learn to relax. In a peaceful state of mind, such as we get from mindfulness meditation, we can forget our past differences with others and forgive their faults, weaknesses and offenses. Then loving-friendliness naturally grows within us.”
-Bhante Henepola Gunarantana
It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again – my favorite time of year here on The Heart Of Awakening Blog. We are gearing up for the 4th annual May Is For Metta: 31 Days Of Loving-kindness Exploration Event here on The Heart Of Awakening Blog. This is an event I started initially on Facebook and expanded here on HOA. May Is For Metta is a gathering of a virtual sangha (community) with participants from all over the world energetically coming together for daily guided meditation practice and exploration during the month of May. Our intention is to cultivate greater loving-kindness and compassion for ourselves, others and the world or as Bhante Henepola Gunarantanta calls it ~ “Loving-friendliness”!
I am excited to be preparing and sharing about our upcoming virtual gathering of May Is For Metta 2014: 31 Days Of Loving-kindess Exploration. Our practice will begin on May 1st and end on May 31st with explorations and guided practices each day. The heart of the practice centers around daily posts which include information on Metta (Loving-kindness) Meditation, guided practices and journaling exercises. There is also some sharing on HOA’s Facebook page. Once the process begins it is basically self-guided – you can begin on Day 1 or jump in where you feel to. For those who choose to commit to the 31 Days of practice, there is an opportunity to develop or deepen a daily meditation or contemplation practice. There will be lots of support in building a regular practice.
New this year are two optional levels for those who would like additional support. Options include:
Optional Level I : Daily Blog Posts plus Daily Audio Message/Guided Meditation Practice ~ $31 For 31 Days (Register Now…)
Optional Level II: Daily Blog Posts plus Daily Audios plus 1 One-on-One Session by Phone/Skype with facilitator Beth Terrence to support your individual practice (Register Now)
What Is Metta Meditation?
Metta, or Loving-kindness meditation, is a Buddhist practice that involves the repetition of phrases, similar to mantra, that help to generate the energy of loving-kindness and in a sense offer blessings to ourselves, to others and to the world. Although we work with the phrases as the anchor of the practice, the essence of it is the generation of the energy of loving-kindness and compassion. There are variations on the phrases which focus on cultivating happiness, safety, and ease of well-being. Here is one version:
May I be happy.
May I be peaceful.
May I be free of suffering.
May I have ease of well-being.
For those who are new to Metta and/or a daily meditation practice, this time offers you the opportunity to build a practice and to create a space for stillness and peace. This is one of the most loving acts we can do for ourselves. And, so how wonderful to begin with the practice of Metta – cultivating loving-kindness and compassion for ourselves, others and the world.
For those who currently have a daily meditation practice and/or have worked with Metta practice before, this is a time for you to go deeper. One of the greatest lessons I have learned in life is to always come to a teaching or practice with a beginners mind. From this place of openness and unknowing lies a great opportunity for developing our understanding and can allow us to become more present to each moment.
In a gradual way, each day will offer simple guidance on how to begin and stay present with a daily practice. It is up to you how much time to commit and how deep you will choose to go. A part of the journey is uncovering where we resist, get stuck and withhold from ourselves by not creating the time and space we need to be centered and whole. So in essence, this 31 Days is really an exercise in Loving Ourselves enough to commit some time and space to be more present; the vehicle for creating that time and space is the practice of Metta and daily meditation.
To receive updates and posts this year, there are a few ways to stay connected:
- “JOIN” The Heart Of Awakening Blog community through the sign up box on the top right of this page
- “LIKE” The Heart Of Awakening Facebook page
- “REGISTER” through Eventbrite to receive daily posts (free) via email or to sign up for optional levels which include daily audios and/or a one-on-one session to support your practice and exploration. There are additional fees for the optional levels. Learn more…
- “DONATE” – If you have enjoyed May Is For Metta and The Heart Of Awakening Blog, consider making a donation to support this year’s event and all of the offerings on HOA. Donations can also be made through Eventbrite. Learn more…
Also, if you have participated before would like to drop a note to share or reflect on your experiences, I’d love to hear from you; and I am sure folks who are interested would, too. If you have any suggestions for this year’s gathering, please feel free to drop me a note as well.
I am so looking forward to our journey together. Feel free to share May Is For Metta with your friends, family, co-workers and community. We will spend quite a bit of time exploring how loving-kindness and compassion practices can be brought into our relationships and daily experiences. Imagine if each person on earth were to take some time everyday to cultivate greater loving-kindness and compassion ~ what our world might be like! Let’s see starting May 1st!