Tag Archives: Benefactor

Day 6 ~ May Is For Metta 2016: Offering Lovingkindness To A Benefactor

Standard

MIFM2016.2.001

“How and why we love changes the qualities of our love.  Love with loving-kindness transforms love into the nectar of wisdom. 

Love with attachment transforms the love into poison, into a state of afflicting emotions. 

Therefore, we must recognize the characteristics of the love that is loving-kindness and learn how to generate it in ourselves.” 

Tulku Thondup

Today, we begin to extend the field of our practice of Metta, Loving-kindness out beyond our own selves to another being.  We will continue to start our practice by cultivating loving-kindness and compassion for our ourselves as this is always the foundation from which we begin our Metta practice.  Then, we will continue by offering Metta to someone who has been a great supporter or 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 the fact that this being is a part of our lives.  Just thinking of this person generates a smile.   Some of the options to choose from include:  a beloved teacher, a mentor, a grandparent, a pet, a child or even something you love in nature.  They may be one of the people we called on to generate Metta individually or as part of our Circle of Loving Beings.

Often, in the beginning of practice, it is suggested to extend Metta to Benefactor/Mentor who is a living person as this can be easier and help to deepen our level of concentration without other feelings arise. I suggest following the guidance of your heart on this choice.

As we work with this category, we expand our experience of loving-kindness in two ways.  One is that we begin to extend our practice out to another.  The other is that in offering Metta to this being, it supports us in deepening our own experience loving-kindness as that is what this relationship has brought to our lives.  A Benefactor/Mentor is someone whom we have only the most positive and loving feelings toward.

Kindness points to the core of what it means to be alive, which is to be connected. – Sharon Salzberg

I have shared the above quote here as it is in working with our relationship with a Benefactor/Mentor that we begin to extend our loving-kindness outward and open up to expanding our sense of connection to all beings.  This is an essential part of the Metta practice.  We do it gradually by creating a foundation of loving-kindness within ourselves and then working with the various categories, all of which we will explore during May Is For Metta.

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 seeing yourself in the center of your circle of loving beings.  By now, you have begun to develop 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.  Remember, creating a strong foundation is an important part of the practice; be careful not to neglect this as you begin to offer Metta to others.  When you feel ready, begin to offer the Metta phrases you have been working with to yourself:

  • May I be safe.
  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free from suffering.

Bring an image of the Benefactor/Mentor clearly 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 they were really sitting there with you in this very moment.  This is someone who warms your heart just by thinking about them.  Say to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.”  Begin repeating the phrases for your Benefactor or Mentor:

  • May you be safe.
  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free from suffering.

If at any point you notice that your mind has wandered, simply bring your attention back to the phrases and the image of your benefactor.  And, if you find that you are having a lot of distraction or difficult feelings coming up, I invite you to explore switching your practice back to yourself for a few moments.  This can be done by offering yourself a round of phrases, turning your attention to your heart center, or imagining your circle of loving beings.  Then when you feel more centered, simply return your attention to the Benefactor/Mentor you have chosen to work with today.  

Often, whether in meditation or in life, we can judge ourselves harshly.  I encourage you to be gentle and loving with yourself as you explore Metta practice.  As often as you feel to, explore the practice of switching back to offering Metta to yourself as this is a way to begin to become more loving toward yourself.   This is perhaps the most powerful gift that Metta practice can bring!  We listen, we become more attentive and we respond to ourselves when we are having difficulty with loving-kindness and compassion.   As we do so, we plant the seeds for a paradigm shift in how we relate with ourselves, with others and with life itself.

Continue to practice for your Benefactor/Mentor for as long as you can or have committed to for your practice time.   Then, return your awareness to the image of sitting in your Circle of Loving Beings or being present in your heart center.  Allow that feeling to really sink into your whole being, into every atom and cell.  Let it surround and envelope you.  As you move out into your day, imagine yourself embodying loving-kindness and compassion with each step and each breath.

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 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 have difficulty concentrating?
  • Are you able to bring your practice into your daily life in some way?

May you be happy today!

Tashi Deleh! (I honor the greatness within you!)

Beth

Day 12 ~ May Is For Metta 2104: Loving-kindness For Self, Benefactor & Beloved

Standard

 

“The sojourn of the soul is a thrilling divine romance in which the lover, who in the beginning is conscious of nothing but emptiness…gradually attains an increasingly fuller and freer expression of love, and ultimately disappears and merges in the divine Beloved. “– Meher Baba

May Is For Metta 2014

With each moment that we practice Metta, we are deepening in our ability to experience and express love.  Yesterday, we worked with the energy of Mother’s Day.  Today, we will continue our practice working with the first three categories of the Metta practice: Self, Benefactor and Beloved.  As we continue to practice, we begin to deepen in our ability to connect with essence of loving-kindness and the divinity within all beings.  The words of Meher Baba really speak to this journey so beautifully.  Through our practice of Metta, we are entering into a relationship with our divine essence.

Daily Practice: 

Do your foundational practices.  Continue until you feel the energy of loving-kindness arising in yourself.  Take some time to offer the Metta phrases to yourself.

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

Then, when you feel ready, bring an image of a Benefactor, a mentor, teacher, grandparent, loving animal or place in nature, into your mind.  Begin to offer loving-kindness to this being.  Before you begin the phrases offer, “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:

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

Practice for a few minutes for the Benefactor and then move onto the category of the Beloved.  Invite an image of your Beloved, a close friend or family member into your mind.  Hold them in your heart and offer this, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.”  Then, begin to repeat the phrases for your Beloved:

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

Remember, if you are struggling with the practice or having difficult feelings arise, you can always return the practice to yourself for a few moments.  Then, when you feel to go back to whichever category you were working with.  Just call that being back into your mind and heart and continue your practice.  Practice as long as you feel to or have committed to for today. 

Dedicate the merit of your practice offering that the benefit is for self, others and that of all beings without exception as we did yesterday:

  • May all beings have happiness and it’s cause.
  • May all beings be free of suffering, joyous content and at ease.
  • May all beings be balanced in equanimity towards one and all.
  • May the merit of my practice be for my own benefit and for that of all sentient beings.

Another way to do this is to say a prayer at the end of your practice in whatever manner or tradition feels best for you.

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 work with a number of the categories?  What did you notice?  Are you remembering to return to yourself when you need to?  How are you feeling about your practice or exploration of Metta overall?

May your day be filled with sunshine and happiness.

Namaste.

********************************************

If you are interested in receiving additional support to develop or deepen your meditation practice or work on cultivating greater loving-kindness for yourself, consider one of the optional levels:

Level I: Blog Posts + 31 Daily Audio Message/Guided Meditation Practices delivered to you through email each morning ~ $31

Sample Day 2 Of May Is For Metta Audio Message

Level II: Blog Posts + 31 Daily Audios +  One-On-One Integrative Transformational Healing Session with Beth Terrence in person in Annapolis, MD,  or by Phone or Skype  ~ $108

Register Now

 

Day 9 ~ May Is For Metta 2014: Dedicating The Merit Of Our Practice

Standard

May Is For Metta 2014

May the earth be wholesome everywhere
The world blessed with prosperity
May the poor and destitute find wealth
And the stooping animals be freed

May every being ailing with illness
Find relief at once from suffering
May all the sickness that afflict the living
Be instantly and permanently healed

May those who go in dread, have no more fear,
May captives be unchained and set free,
And may the weak now become strong,
May living beings help each other in kindness.

May travelers upon the road,
Find happiness no matter where they go,
And may they gain, without hardship,
The goals on which their hearts are set.

From the songs of birds and the sighing of trees,
From the shafts of light and from the sky itself,
May living beings, each and every one,
Perceive the constant sound of Dharma
Shantideva

Today, we will continue working with the category of Benefactor/Mentor.  Sometimes people have difficulty choosing whom to work with.  I had suggested a practice yesterday to explore by working with the heart, but also it is good to just be open.  The name Benefactor/Mentor connotes a certain type of person but we should not get caught up in the title.  Remember, we say choose a being because in addition to a human being, it can be an animal or something you love in nature, a tree, a river, or the mountains.  The essence of this category is that this being creates warmth in you and puts a smile on your face.

Sometimes, it is easier to practice for the Benefactor/Mentor than for ourselves; we may feel a sense of ease or pleasantness that arises as we practice for this being.  Still, there are days when our practice will be more difficult than others.  We may not feel connected to anyone; we may not be able to decide who to practice for or we may feel resistance to practicing altogether.  This is the time to return the focus of the practice to yourself.  It may even be a day when you need to just practice for yourself.  That’s okay.  As I shared yesterday, learning to respond to yourself with loving-kindness and compassion is at the heart of Metta.  Part of that is allowing yourself to be where you are and embracing yourself with gentleness and acceptance.

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.  Begin to send Metta to yourself by repeating the phrases you have been working with. 

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

If you feel strongly to continue with the Benefactor/Mentor you were working with, do so.  If not, why not try to practice for an animal or something in nature that really nourishes and supports you, maybe even Mother Earth herself.

When you have chosen who or what being you will work with, invite an image to arise in your mind and let yourself feel what it feels like to be in the presence of that being.   Allow yourself to enjoy the feeling of connecting with your Benefactor/Mentor in whatever way feels good to you.  Remember, this being makes you feel warm inside.  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/Mentor:

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

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 feel to or have committed to for your practice.   Let the image of the Benefactor go and come back into your own heart center.  Repeat to yourself just once:

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

It is customary in Buddhism and other traditions to dedicate the merit of our practice for the benefit of all beings.  We ask to accomplish the twofold benefit – that our practice is for our own benefit and that of all sentient beings.  All sentient beings can include humans, animals, plants, and beings in other realms.  Dedicating merit offers our practice for the support of others, asking that the loving-kindness and compassion we have cultivated may be beneficial to all and at the same time, it helps our mind to remain firm in our dedication to transformation.  The opening by Shantideva offers one a way to work with this.  Although there are traditional ways to dedicate merit, you can explore finding the words that work for you.

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.  Did you explore working with the Benefactor/Mentor in a different way?  Are you remembering to return your practice to your self when you are having difficulty?  Are you being gentle and loving with yourself as you practice and in your daily life?  How do you feel about dedicating merit at the end of your practice?

May your day be filled with happiness, love and equanimity.

Extra Credit:

This song written by American monk, Ven. Heng Sure carries the essence of dedicating merit as well as what the overall intention of our Metta practice is centered on.  Hope you’ll take a few moments and listen.  I’ve included the words below as well.

May every living being,
Our minds as one and radiant with light,
Share the fruits of peace
With hearts of goodness, luminous and bright.

If people hear and see,
How hands and hearts can find in giving, unity,
May their minds awake,
To Great Compassion, wisdom and to joy.

May kindness find reward,
May all who sorrow leave their grief and pain;
May this boundless light,
Break the darkness of their endless night.

Because our hearts are one,
This world of pain turns into Paradise,
May all become compassionate and wise,
May all become compassionate and wise.

Day 8 ~ May Is For Metta 2014: Loving-kindness For A Benefactor or Mentor

Standard

“How and why we love change the qualities of our love.  Love with loving-kindness transforms love into the nectar of wisdom.  Love with attachment transforms the love into poison, into a state of afflicting emotions.  Therefore, we must recognize the characteristics of the love that is loving-kindness and learn how to generate it in ourselves.” ~ Tulku Thondup

May Is For Metta 2014

It is taught that there are four essential ingredients in the practice of Metta. They are as follows:

  • positive images
  • positive words
  • feelings of loving-kindness
  • trusting in love

Trust involves all of aspects as it includes trusting in the power of the images, words and the feelings of loving-kindness.  Trusting in love allows our loving-kindness meditation to be most effective.  And, as we have discussed this can sometimes go against our grain.  For some of us, trusting in love is not what we learned to do as a child or adult; and yet as we begin to open to trust by loving ourselves, our whole word changes.

Today, we will continue our practice working with the Benefactor/Mentor.  You may continue to practice with the same person you chose yesterday or you may explore working with another.  If you are not sure with whom to work, just call a few possibilities into your mind.  Imagine each being coming into your heart center, notice how you feel and try out the phrases on each one until you feel clear who you wish to work with for today.  Allow your heart to guide you.  This is a good way to learn the language of your heart.

Daily Practice:  

Do your foundational practices.  Begin by getting comfortable and settling in to your breath.  Spend a few moments centering on your heart or imagining yourself sitting in your circle of loving beings.  Really allow your self to feel enveloped in the energies of loving-kindness and compassion.  Remember, creating a strong foundation is an important part of the practice; be careful not to neglect this as you begin to offer Metta to others.  When you feel ready, begin to offer the Metta phrases you have been working with to yourself.

  • May I be safe.
  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free from suffering.

Bring an image of the Benefactor/Mentor clearly 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.  This is someone who warms your heart just by thinking about them.  Say to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.”  Begin repeating the phrases for your Benefactor or Mentor:

  • May you be safe.
  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free from suffering.

If you notice your mind has wandered, bring your attention back to the phrases and the image of your benefactor.  As I touched on yesterday, another option if you are having a lot of distraction or difficult feelings coming up is to switch your practice back to yourself for a few moments; then when you feel more centered, return your attention to the Benefactor/Mentor.  This is a way to become more loving with ourselves.  We listen, we become more attentive and we respond to ourselves when we are having difficulty.   And, we respond to ourselves with loving-kindness and compassion rather than harshness or criticism.  This is an opportunity for a paradigm shift.   

I encourage you to explore this practice of switching back and forth as you need to during your practice – do it as often as you feel to.  You can also explore turning your attention to yourself, your heart center or imagining your circle of loving beings throughout your day when you have trouble staying present in the moment or when you are have difficult feelings arise.  Those difficult moments during your day are the perfect opportunity to bring your Metta practice into your daily life.

Continue to practice for your Benefactor/Mentor for as long as you can or have committed to for your practice.   Then, return your awareness to the image of sitting in your circle of loving beings or being present in your heart center.  Allow that feeling to really sink into you, into every atom and cell of your being.  Let it surround and envelope you.  As you move out into your day, imagine yourself embodying loving-kindness and compassion with each step and each breath.

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 does it feel to practice for a Benefactor/Mentor?  Did you explore switching back to yourself?  How is your practice going?  Are you able to spend some time sitting everyday or have you decided to incorporate your practice in some other way?  What are you learning about yourself?  Are you being gentle and loving with your self as your practice or explore?

May you be happy. 
May you be peaceful.  
May you be free of suffering.  
May you have ease of well-being today and everyday.

Namaste.

Day 7 ~ May Is For Metta 2014: Extending Loving-kindness To A Benefactor Or Mentor

Standard

 

May Is For Metta 2014

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:

  1. You will sleep easy.
  2. You will wake easily.
  3. You will have pleasant dreams.
  4. People will love you.
  5. Devas or celestial beings and animals will love you.
  6. Devas or celestial beings will protect you.
  7. External dangers will not harm you.
  8. Your face will be radiant.
  9. Your mind will be serene.
  10. You will die unconfused.
  11. You will be reborn in happy realms.

Today, we begin to extend the field ofour practice of Metta, Loving-kindness out beyond our own selves to another being.  Still, we continue to start our practice by cultivating loving-kindness and compassion for our own self, as this is always the foundation from which we begin to offer 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 the fact that this being is a part of our lives.  Just thinking of this person generates a smile.   Some of the options to choose from include:  a beloved teacher, a mentor, a 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/Mentor who is a living person as this can help to deepen our level of concentration.  Working with this category supports our expanding experience of loving-kindness in two ways.  One is that we begin to extend our practice out to another.  The other is that this being support us in deepening our own experience loving-kindness as that is what they bring to our lives.  We have only the most positive and loving feelings for this person.

“Kindness points to the core of what it means to be alive, which is to be connected.” – Sharon Salzberg

I have shared the above quote here as it is in working with our relationship with a Benefactor or Mentor that we begin to extend our loving-kindness outward and open up to expanding our sense of connection to all beings.  This is an essential part of the Metta practice.  We do it gradually by creating a foundation of loving-kindness within ourselves and then working with the various categories. 

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 seeing yourself in the center of your circle of loving beings.  By now, you have begun to develop 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.  Remember, creating a strong foundation is an important part of the practice; be careful not to neglect this as you begin to offer Metta to others.  When you feel ready, begin to offer the Metta phrases you have been working with to yourself:

  • May I be safe.
  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free from suffering.

Bring an image of the Benefactor/Mentor clearly 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 they were really sitting there with you in this very moment.  This is someone who warms your heart just by thinking about them.  Say to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.”  Begin repeating the phrases for your Benefactor or Mentor:

  • May you be safe.
  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free from suffering.

If you notice your mind has wandered, bring your attention back to the phrases and the image of your benefactor. As I touched on yesterday, another option if you are having a lot of distraction or difficult feelings coming up is to switch your practice back to yourself for a few moments; then when you feel more centered, return your attention to the Benefactor/Mentor.  This is a way to become more loving with ourselves.  We listen, we become more attentive and we respond to ourselves when we are having difficulty.   And, we respond to ourselves with loving-kindness and compassion rather than harshness or criticism.  This is an opportunity for a paradigm shift.   

I encourage you to explore this practice of switching back and forth as you need to during your practice – do it as often as you feel to.  You can also explore turning your attention to yourself, your heart center or imagining your circle of loving beings throughout your day when you have trouble staying present in the moment or when you are have difficult feelings arise.  Those difficult moments during your day are the perfect opportunity to bring your practice of Loving-kindness into your daily life.

Continue to practice for your Benefactor/Mentor for as long as you can or have committed to for your practice time.   Then, return your awareness to the image of sitting in your circle of loving beings or being present in your heart center.  Allow that feeling to really sink into your whole being, into every atom and cell.  Let it surround and envelope you.  As you move out into your day, imagine yourself embodying loving-kindness and compassion with each step and each breath.

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 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 have difficulty concentrating?  Are you able to bring your practice into your daily life in some way?

May your day be filled with happiness, love and equanimity.

*************************************

If you are interested in receiving additional support to develop or deepen your meditation practice or work on cultivating greater loving-kindness for yourself, consider one of the optional levels:

Level I: Blog Posts + 31 Daily Audio Message/Guided Meditation Practices delivered to you through email each morning ~ $31

Sample Day 2 Of May Is For Metta Audio Message

Level II: Blog Posts + 31 Daily Audios +  One-On-One Integrative Transformational Healing Session with Beth Terrence in person in Annapolis, MD,  or by Phone or Skype  ~ $108

Register Now

 

 

 

Day 10 ~ May Is For Metta 2013: Loving-kindness Practice for Self, Benefactor & Beloved

Standard

Quanyin

The sojourn of the soul is a thrilling divine romance in which the lover, who in the beginning is conscious of nothing but emptiness…gradually attains an increasingly fuller and freer expression of love, and ultimately disappears and merges in the divine Beloved. – Meher Baba

With each moment that we practice Metta, we are deepening in our ability to experience and express love.  Yesterday, we began working with the category of the Beloved but ultimately in our practice we are cultivating our ability to merge ourselves into the divine Beloved.  The words of Meher Baba really speak to this journey so beautifully.  Through our practice of Metta, we are entering into a relationship with our divine essence.

Today, we will begin to integrate the different categories we have worked with so far before we move on to add more categories to our practice.   We will begin by offering Metta to ourselves, then to a Benefactor and finally a Beloved.  You may wish to continue to offer to the same being you offered to yesterday or feel into your heart as to whom you wish to extend Loving-kindness to today.

Daily Practice: Do your foundational practices.  Continue until you feel the energy of loving-kindness arising in yourself.  Take some time to offer the Metta phrases to yourself.

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

Then, when you feel ready, bring an image of a Benefactor, a mentor, teacher, grandparent, loving animal or place in nature, into your mind.  Begin to offer loving-kindness to this being.  Before you begin the phrases offer, “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:

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

Practice for a few minutes for the Benefactor and then move onto the category of the Beloved.  Invite an image of your Beloved, a close friend or family member into your mind.  Hold them in your heart and offer this, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.”  Then, begin to repeat the phrases for your Beloved:

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

Remember, if you are struggling with the practice or having difficult feelings arise, you can always return the practice to yourself for a few moments.  Then, when you feel to go back to whichever category you were working with.  Just call that being back into your mind and heart and continue your practice.  Practice as long as you feel to or have committed to for today.  Dedicate the merit of your practice offering that the benefit is for self, others and that of all beings without exception as we did yesterday.  Another way to do this is to say a prayer at the end of your practice in whatever manner or tradition feels best for you.

Journal Notes: How did it feel to work with a number of the categories?  What did you notice?  Are you remembering to return to yourself when you need to?  How are you feeling about your practice or exploration of Metta overall?

May your day be filled with sunshine and happiness.

Day 8 ~ May Is For Metta 2013: Loving-kindness Meditation For A Benefactor

Standard

Quanyin

“Kindness points to the core of what it means to be alive, which is to be connected.” – Sharon Salzberg

Today, we will continue our practice working with the Benefactor/Mentor.  You may continue to practice with the same person you chose yesterday or you may explore working with another.  If you are not sure whom to work with, just call a few possibilities into your mind.  Imagine each being coming into your heart center, notice how you feel and try out the phrases on each one until you feel clear who you wish to work with for today.  Allow your heart to guide you.  This is a good way to learn the language of your heart.

Daily Practice:  Do your foundational practices.  Begin by getting comfortable and settling in to your breath.  Spend a few moments centering on your heart or imagining yourself sitting in your circle of loving beings.  Really allow your self to feel enveloped in the energies of loving-kindness and compassion.  Remember, creating a strong foundation is an important part of the practice; be careful not to neglect this as you begin to offer Metta to others.  When you feel ready, begin to offer the Metta phrases you have been working with to yourself.

  • May I be safe.
  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free from suffering.

Bring an image of the Benefactor/Mentor clearly 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.  This is someone who warms your heart just by thinking about them.  Say to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.”  Begin repeating the phrases for your Benefactor or Mentor:

  • May you be safe.
  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free from suffering.

If you notice your mind has wandered, bring your attention back to the phrases and the image of your benefactor.  As I touched on yesterday, another option if you are having a lot of distraction or difficult feelings coming up is to switch your practice back to yourself for a few moments; then when you feel more centered, return your attention to the Benefactor/Mentor.  This is a way to become more loving with ourselves.  We listen, we become more attentive and we respond to ourselves when we are having difficulty.   And, we respond to ourselves with loving-kindness and compassion rather than harshness or criticism.  This is an opportunity for a paradigm shift.   I encourage you to explore this practice of switching back and forth as you need to during your practice – do it as often as you feel to.  You can also explore turning your attention to yourself, your heart center or imagining your circle of loving beings throughout your day when you have trouble staying present in the moment or when you are have difficult feelings arise.  Those difficult moments during your day are the perfect opportunity to bring your Metta practice into your daily life.

Continue to practice for your Benefactor/Mentor for as long as you can or have committed to for your practice.   Then, return your awareness to the image of sitting in your circle of loving beings or being present in your heart center.  Allow that feeling to really sink into you, into every atom and cell of your being.  Let it surround and envelope you.  As you move out into your day, imagine yourself embodying loving-kindness and compassion with each step and each breath.

Journal Notes – How does it feel to practice for a Benefactor/Mentor?  Did you explore switching back to yourself?  How is your practice going?  Are you able to spend some time sitting everyday or have you decided to incorporate your practice in some other way?  What are you learning about yourself?  Are you being gentle and loving with your self as your practice or explore?

May you be happy.  May you be peaceful.  May you be free of suffering.  May you have ease of well-being today and everyday.

Day 7 ~ May Is For Metta 2013: Extending Our Practice To A Benefactor/Mentor

Standard

Quanyin

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:

  1. You will sleep easy.
  2. You will wake easily.
  3. You will have pleasant dreams.
  4. People will love you.
  5. Devas or celestial beings and animals will love you.
  6. Devas or celestial beings will protect you.
  7. External dangers will not harm you.
  8. Your face will be radiant.
  9. Your mind will be serene.
  10. You will die unconfused.
  11. 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.