I’m in Carson City, Nevada–teaching loving kindness (metta) practice. Teaching and practicing metta seems to put me in a marvelously good mood. May you all be happy and well!
Metta is a traditional way of overcoming tendencies toward fear, anger, and ill will. It is a strong and profound attitude of non-contention and deep friendliness that, when developed, is described in the Buddha’s discourses as “an immeasurable deliverance of mind.”
As an immeasurable liberation, metta extends to everyone everywhere, known and unknown. Metta reveals an expansive dimension to consciousness–a love that is boundless–a quality of mind that is free from enmity, a way of perceiving phenomena that meets experience with “kindly eyes.”
We followed a traditional training approach of generating metta toward ourselves, respected ones, dear friends, neutral people, and then finally difficult people–progressively cultivating good will toward all. Although for some people metta comes naturally, and I believe it is a natural expression of wisdom, I also find it is useful to intentionally develop metta. Metta meditation offers us a beautiful technique for focusing the mind on thoughts of good will.
The practice involves visualizing a person, and silently contemplating a series of 4 good wishes:
1) May you be safe from danger and harm.
2) May you be happy, free from mental distress.
3) May you be healthy, free from illness and pain.
4) May you live with ease, free from conflict and strife.
You may change the phrases to use wording that is more familiar to you, or abrieviate the series to a simple wish such as “may you be happy and well.”
I recommend practicing metta before getting out of bed each morning. Start your day with these kind thoughts. It only takes a few minutes in the morning, but when you let the mind dwell with the simple wishes for happiness and good wishes before you get out of bed, and continue the phrases as you walk to the bathroom and brush your teeth or bathe, you are stepping into our day with trustworthy intentions.
May you be happy and well.