The practice of Metta or “loving-kindness”
Metta is a Pali word, and like most ancient words, it encompasses multi meanings.
Therefore, it cannot be translated into a single word.
It can be summarized as an attitude of loving-kindness expressed towards all living beings including self and in all situations w/o seeking anything back for our own interest.
Metta is one of the so-called 4 Noble Attitudes also called 4 Virtues or the 4 Immeasurable, that is Compassion, Feeling happy for the happiness of others, and equanimity or emotional stability.
Loving-kindness includes caring, loving, friendliness, goodwill, amity, and non-violence, all of them in a non-judgemental and non-self-centered way.
The chief mark of metta is a benevolent attitude: a keen desire to promote the physical, mental,
emotional welfare and well-being toward self and others.
Essentially metta is an altruistic attitude of love and friendliness. It should be distinguished from amiability based on our mundane politeness attitude or self-interest.
The Buddha himself considered the practice of Metta as the key tool to deal with our negative feelings
and those of others.
“Anywhere and at any time.
Through Metta alone, our negativity towards self and others will cease:
This is an eternal law.”
Beneficial effects of practicing Metta:
The ability to embrace and illuminate our inner integrity because it relieves us of the need
to deny our negative physical, mental and emotional aspects of ourselves but rather to accept
them with genuine compassion.
When we feel and practice loving kindness, our mind is expansive and open enough to include
in full awareness and acceptance of our negative emotions, flaws, and struggles.
On our surroundings including other living beings:
It means to care and wish well for another living being without any social religious, political,
and economic barriers and without judging them.
To accept their negative emotions, flaws, and struggles, independently of agreeing or
disagreeing with them, and without wanting anything from them.
I will conclude with this Buddhist Metta Prayer
May I be mindful and compassionate toward my own and the others’ physical, emotional discomfort, imperfections,
May I be mindful and grateful for my own and the other’s joy, physical, mental and emotional well-being May I move towards others freely, unselfishly, with an open mind and acceptance?
May I welcome others with sympathy and understanding “
When and how do you really practice Metta toward yourself and to others when you ask this mundane automatic question “how are you?”.