How to practice ”Metta” or Lovingkindness
Metta regroups loving-kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. In our Western culture, it is impossible to practice Metta to ourselves. We feel that we are unworthy, that it’s egotistical, narcissistic, and alien. The following is the actual teaching by the Buddha himself regarding Metta.
"One of the beautiful principles of compassion, loving-kindness, and forgiveness practices is that we open our hearts where it’s easiest that is our loved ones, then direct our loving-kindness little by little to ourselves. Being gradual, the process towards self-lovingkindness is more acceptable.
While meditating, feel your body and mind relaxing slowly and your breathing natural. Then, picture intensively on someone you care about a lot. Smile to her/him, and, in silence or out loud, let natural words of caring, good wishes, compassion, forgiveness, and love come from your mind and heart. You may pick any words you want and choose one or several persons at the same time. Next, imagine the same person whom you love is offering back her/his loving-kindness. Picture how She/He looks at you with a gentle smile and expresses the same kind words of compassion, kindness, forgiveness, concern, and love to you. Now turn these good wishes toward yourself. Place your hand on your heart, smile at yourself, and repeat silently the same words of lovingkindness that you created before to someone but now towards yourself. It includes accepting with forgiveness your mistakes of the past, flaws, and weaknesses that you cannot fix and without being too judgmental of yourself. Finally, the Buddha concluded:
Think of yourself as a beacon, spreading loving kindness, compassion, and love like the light of a lighthouse first around others in the room, then reaching out to the infinite world. As human beings, the awakened heart of loving-kindness and freedom is our birthright. “If these things were not possible,
I would not teach them. But because they are possible for you and me, I offer these teachings as part of the awakening path " concluded by the Buddha. I am adding these 2 adds: Expressing lovingkindness and forgiveness to others cannot be achieved without, first, applying them yourself. Practical exercise: pick a dreadful past mistake creating ongoing guilt and meditate on it while applying Metta. TX U