It’s Take Your Metta To Work Day!
An Exploration in Bringing Loving-kindness Practice
to the World of Work
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
Our intention for today will be to bring our Metta practice more fully into our daily lives. Today, is Take Your Metta To Work Day. Although the main focus will be to bring Metta into our work life, it can really be explored anywhere – at work, at school, or in the community. Feel free to adapt the practice so it works for you.
The relationship between our personal lives and our work lives has often been one of disconnection or separation. When we go to work, we put on our work persona. When we come home, we take it off. Although things are shifting, the process is still slow. Even when organizations and individuals desire to be more open, authentic and heart-centered, the transition is difficult as there is really no pattern to follow.
Metta practice offers a way for an individual to stay connected with their heart center and bring more of their authenticity to all of their experiences, including work. The goal is to allow one’s whole, integrated self to emerge and shine through. For organizations, Metta mediation offers an opportunity to cultivate a culture of open-heartedness, mindfulness and acceptance. Recent research has also shown that meditation practice supports greater clarity, clearer focus, improved wellness, reduced stress, increased productivity and enhanced creativity in the workplace.
Basically, bringing Metta meditation practice to work is a win-win situation. So, whether you are an individual wanting to bring your personal practice more fully into your daily life or an organization wanting create change, bringing Metta practice to work offers a powerful tool for transformation.
For anyone who is joining in at this time, it may be helpful to read the earlier posts on Exploring Metta and Days 1 – 3 to gain an understanding of the foundational practices. As we Take Our Metta To Work, I encourage you to continue a sitting practice if you have been cultivating one. However, you can also do the practice at work or on your way to work. This is an opportunity to bring Metta more fully into daily life and carry our practice to work. Feel free to “just play” and explore what is best for you today.
It is good to begin the day with Metta practice for yourself but you can also do it as you arrive at work as a way to engage your whole self and move into your work from a heart centered place. This can be both exciting and scary, so as always remember to be gentle and loving with your self. The greatest gift of bringing Metta to work is continuing to carry your personal practice of Loving-kindness with you wherever you go and allowing your true self to come through in a space where you may have a tendency to constrict your own essence.
Also, you might like to check out this previous post on 7 Motivations To Take Your Metta To Work: Transforming Our World & Our Work With Loving-kindness Meditation.
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. Connect with your own heart center and begin your practice by offering 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.
Even if you did your practice at home, take a few moments as you arrive at work to center yourself in the heart and repeat a round of two or phrases for yourself. As you go about your day, do this a few times. Any time that you experience stress or difficult emotions during your day, explore using your foundational practices – imagine your circle of loving beings surrounding you, connect with your heart center or repeat some phrases for yourself for a few moments. You will be amazed to see how a moment or two of Metta can change your day.
Sometimes people like to do this periodically throughout the day, in a proactive way. One of my clients sets an alarm on his cell phone every hour that reminds him to take a moment to cultivate Metta for himself. This helps him to stay connected to the heart as well as remain centered and grounded. He finds that this supports his ability to be more focused, balanced and productive throughout the day.
One of the overall intentions of May is for Metta is to support transformation in our world and organizations are an important part of it. So, I invite you to include a few moments of today’s practice for your organization. You can choose the whole organization or if it feels to large, you can work with your department or team.
Remember you can adapt this practice to work, school or community depending on how you spend your day. The idea is to bring our loving-kindness and compassion to a larger community that we are a part of and that we share a common experience with. This helps to foster a more compassionate connection within our organizations and communities. It can also support the alignment of organizational energy and mission.
Check that you are centered in the energy of loving-kindness. If you need to practice a bit more for yourself, do so. Then, when you are ready, begin to offer Metta for your whole organization, remembering that an organization is made up of individuals and is also its own energetic entity. You are offering Metta to everyone and everything that makes up your organization, school, or community. Say to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and peaceful, so do all beings within my organization.” Begin to offer the phrases remembering that you, too, are a part of this organization:
- May we be happy.
- May we be peaceful.
- May we be free of suffering.
- May we have ease of well-being.
As always, if your mind wanders, just notice and return to the phrases. Sometimes, working with a larger group is difficult or you may have mixed feelings about some of the people you work with or the organization itself. Just notice. This is something to explore. A part of our practice is noticing where we experience openness and spaciousness and where we experience resistance or constriction. This is a way of getting to know ourselves more deeply and recognizing how we respond to our experiences in the world.
If you continue to struggle or difficult emotions arise, return your practice to your self until your feel more settled. When you feel ready, once again offer the phrases for your organization. If working with your whole organization is too much, or difficult to hold your attention on, then you can switch to a smaller group within the organization.
When you feel ready to move on, enter into your heart center once again. Connect with the loving-kindness within your self. Envision yourself in your circle of loving beings. Do this in whatever way feels good to you. Take a few moments to reflect on your practice.
Other opportunities for practice today including offering Metta for someone you work with who you find difficult or challenging or for a coworker who you consider a friend. Perhaps there is even someone you notice at work who fits into the category of Neutral Being, but for some reason you feel to offer loving-kindness to them today. If you can, try to offer Metta for all of the categories as you go about your day. This does not need to be in any order but just as you remember or notice an opportunity for practice.
At the end of your day, dedicate the merit of today’s daily practice for all beings. Consider all of the beings you have practiced for today and offer the merit of your practice for their benefit and also, for all organizations to be more heart centered. Remember that as you offer up the merit of your practice, you are not giving it away or losing it but you are actually generating more merit through the act of giving.
Daily Journal Reflection:
Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today. How did it feel to explore bringing Metta to work? How did it feel to do Metta for your organization? Did you have difficult feelings or emotions arise during your practice? If so, spend some time writing about them. Did you take some time to return to your heart center and offer Metta to yourself throughout the day? If yes, how did it feel to do so? If not, why? Were you too busy? Were you able to explore the various categories while at work? How does it feel to consider being more loving and compassionate to yourself and others at work?
May you have a peaceful and joyful day.