Metta: Loving Kindness
may all beings be happy…
may all beings know joy…
may all beings be free of suffering…
- Metta isn’t the same thing as feeling good, although it’s possible to feel good and for that not to be metta. We can feel good, but be rather selfish and inconsiderate, for example. Metta has a quality of caring about others.
- Metta isn’t self-sacrifice.
- Metta isn’t something unknown. We all experience Metta. Every time you feel pleasure in seeing someone do well, or are patient with someone who’s a bit difficult, or are considerate and ask someone what they think, you’re experiencing Metta.
- Metta isn’t denying your experience. To practice Metta means that even if you don’t like someone, you can still have their welfare at heart.
- Metta isn’t all or nothing. Metta exists in degrees, and can be expressed in such simple ways as simple as politeness and courtesy.
- Metta is an attitude of recognizing that all sentient beings (that is, all beings that are capable of feeling), can feel good or feel bad, and that all, given the choice, will choose the former over the latter.
- Metta is a recognition of the most basic solidarity that we have with others, this sharing of a common aspiration to find fulfillment and escape suffering.
- Metta is empathy. It’s the willingness to see the world from another’s point of view: to walk a mile in another person’s shoes.
- Metta is the desire that all sentient beings be well, or at least the ones we’re currently thinking about or in contact with. It’s wishing others well.
- Metta is friendliness, consideration, kindness, generosity.
- Metta is an attitude rather than just a feeling. It’s an attitude of friendliness.
- Metta is the basis for compassion. When our Metta meets another’s suffering, then our Metta transforms into compassion.
- Metta is the basis for shared joy. When our Metta meets with another’s happiness or good fortune, then it transmutes into an empathetic joyfulness.
- Metta is boundless. We can feel Metta for any sentient being, regardless of gender, race, or nationality.
- It’s our inherent potential. To wish another well is to wish that they be in a state of experiencing Metta
LINKS: Thank you to Wild Mind for the thoughtful and inspiring meditation articles
Suren Rupasinghe for the use of his lovely photo, “Samadhi”
“Loving Kindness” photo by Maureen Shaughnessy