” May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born —
May all beings be at ease! ‘
Metta Meditation is the practice of cultivating good will towards all beings – wishing them happiness and freedom from suffering. This can include our family and friends, ourselves and even complete strangers. It is a way of looking beyond surface level negative emotions that we may experience in our relationships with others e.g. jealousy and comparison and realising that at a deeper level, we wish others to be truly happy; that their happiness in reality gives us as much joy as our own. We realise that wishing anything but happiness on someone is usually a symptom of having perpetually misdirected our attention towards our own mind-made problems and stories.
” For the mind must be interested or absorbed in something, just as a mirror must always be reflecting something. When it is not trying to be interested in itself—as if a mirror would reflect itself—it must be interested, or absorbed, in other people and things. There is no problem of how to love. We love. We are love, and the only problem is the direction of love, whether it is to go straight out like sunlight, or to try to turn back on itself like a “candle under a bushel.” Released from the circle of attempted self-love, the mind of man draws the whole universe into its own unity as a single dewdrop seems to contain the entire sky. This, rather than any mere emotion, is the power and principle of free action and creative morality.” – Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity
In a way then, all meditation is metta meditation because it enables us to quieten down our thoughts, concern about ourselves and the stories we tell ourselves and appreciate the world as it. It blurs the conceptual lines of separation between ourselves and the world, leading to not only a feeling goodwill for others but a deep sense of well-being and being at home in our surroundings.
If you are practicing metta meditation or meditation for the first time and plan to use books, articles or videos as guides, I would urge you to put time in to research and find aids that feel right to you. If something feels off, insincere or pretentious to you, try to find something that doesn’t, instead of being put off from practicing meditation entirely!