Metta Meditation: Wishing happiness upon yourself and others

” 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.

From TRANSCEND by Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D

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!

Living life in One Piece

It is a uniquely human quality to modify ourselves according to our environment and one that is exceptionally useful. However, it feels to me that in some ways, we have split ourselves into different characters to the detriment of our own quality of life.

The average person today is one person at work and quite another when their work day ends. If we enjoy our work, we are enthusiastic and hardworking but if we don’t, we are bored shadows of our normal selves at work, reserving our enthusiasm and hard work for elsewhere. We are one person with colleagues and a completely different one with friends and family. We are full of love for our friends and family, yet have awkwardly formal relationships with colleagues who become means to achieving objectives in our eyes, rather than living breathing people. Work and play are one example; we expertly play roles in many other scenarios in life

But what if it isn’t possible to compromise on ourselves in one part of our lives without compromising on ourselves entirely? What if being truthful, being hardworking, being kind are not switches we can flip but things we either are or are not?

I believe each moment is a matter of practice and whatever we practice doing in one part of our lives inadvertently seeps into the rest.

I am guilty of having been a ‘three day monk’!

‘The three day monk’ is a term to describe the situation where someone becomes insanely obsessed with something for a  short period of time, only to abandon it completely afterwards!

We do this with new habits, diets, learning skills and in sports! 

I have been guilty of this in regards this blog. When I set it up, my goal was to simply write a blog post once a month. At the time, it felt like a very small goal that would be easy to accomplish! Yet 6 months on, I haven’t kept to this! 

Consistency is everything. One blog post a month might feel like nothing but if I had followed this rule for the blog I started at 15, I would have written 120 posts by now!! 

We set out trying to achieve ambitious things and end up achieving nothing because our ambition isn’t matched by sustained effort over time. But when we realise we have lapsed, we can simply restart!

SO from today, I am once again committing to posting once a month. And for accountability, if you are someone I see IRL, if I haven’t written a post by the end of a month, coffee and croissant is on me. 

Integrating Recovery into my Training Plan

During the COVID-19 lockdown, I’ve used the spare time to ramp up my training routine – balancing strength and conditioning, yoga, solo movement drills and studying for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This month I’ve realised that perhaps I should be doing more on recovery to enjoy slowing down and nourishing my body but also so that I can keep the rhythm going in the long run!

Things I already do

  • Cold showers (I actually enjoy these so if you hate them, it may be worth researching more about the benefits and deciding if the annoyance is worth it for you!)
  • Meditating 10 mins in the morning and 10 mins at night
  • Yoga everyday
  • Trying to get enough sleep
  • Eating sufficient amounts of the right stuff
  • Avoiding alcohol and sugar
  • Massages biweekly (in normal non-social distancing times)

Things I’m focusing on improving for July

1. Getting good quality sleep

My new purchase, a Fitbit Charge 4 has been giving me lots of detailed information about my sleep quality i.e.

  • my actual time asleep i.e. accounting for periods spent awake during the night
  • percentage of deep and REM sleep
  • sleeping heart rate and restlessness during the night

It’s been like Christmas every morning for me, waking up to see my score! It’s turned into a game you win by sleeping well. AMAZING.

To improve my sleep, I’m

  • waking up at the same time every day including weekends
  • not consuming caffeine after 3pm
  • eating at least a couple of hours before bed
  • winding down 30 mins before I go to bed i.e. putting my phone away and doing something relaxing
  • going to bed much earlier because time in bed does not equal time asleep as it takes us a while to fall asleep and according to Fitbit, it’s normal to spend some time awake each night although we don’t tend to remember this

2. Incorporating hard. moderate, easy and off days in my weekly training routine

An example of what hard, moderate, easy and off days look like for me.

The benefit of this approach is making sure hard days are spaced apart from each other. This allows me to really train hard on hard days knowing that I will have easy days and off days coming soon after to rest and recuperate. Similarly on easy days, I know I can truly just have a guilt-free easy day. Of course this should be accompanied by being aware of how your mind and body feels and adjusting your plan according to that which brings me to my next point!

3. Being flexible and listening to my body

''If there appear any plans, they are sketches 
and all sketches are made in pencil.
Everything erasable, everything changeable,
Yet one's being is neither fickle nor flimsy.''
- Mooji

When I first started my lockdown routine and was trying to establish habits e.g. running 3 times a week and a daily yoga practice, I found a specific time and day to do something helpful in preventing me from putting things off endlessly.

I continue to believe that a plan is super handy but am learning how to use it in combination with present moment awareness. How do I feel right now? What has changed since I made my plan?

When you are not feeling fully energised and recovered before your next workout, it’s worth asking why and establishing whether the plan needs to be changed or whether its a one of thing that you need to recognise and adapt your plan for that particular day.

4. Developing a better yoga and mobility routine

Over the past months, I’ve been learning through a daily yoga practice that yoga has much more to offer than an increase in flexibility. Beyond having the more commonly recognised benefits of flexibility, and balance, it can help with mobility, strength, recovery, injury prevention and even cardio! Therefore as someone who is naturally very flexible, I still have a great deal to gain from practicing yoga.

However, my yoga routine has not been as diverse and well suited to my need as it could be. Despite the variety of difficulty, pace and styles yoga has to offer, my usual yoga routine has consisted of 10-15 mins of fairly fast-paced vinyasa flow everyday. I’ve also only recently understood the difference between flexibility and mobility. This month, I will be more carefully selecting my yoga sessions, adding in consistent mobility work and longer restorative yoga sessions once or twice a week to really soothe and nourish my body rather than further tax it with a fast-paced or challenging session!

Finally here are some tools and resources that I found helpful!

Hello World!

Hi. I am Eela and I am very excited to be writing my first blogpost!

I can’t say it’s my first EVER blogpost. I’ve had short lived experiments with my fair share of blogs throughout my life but getting a domain and all, this is serious business ? and I am super excited!

So what am I going to be writing about and why?

I am a learner of many things. I am in LOVE with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and I have been obssessed with philosophy and spirituality for years! Before we master anything, we go through eureka moments, daily battles, little joys and victories. And I believe there may be inherent value in capturing all of that and sharing our unique journey and experience with the world!

People aren’t neat! At least I am not. So this probably, at least to start off with, won’t be a neat one-topic website!

You can expect a bit of everything – from posts about my interests to books I am reading to random recommendations! I used to write stories when I was younger so who knows, those might make a come back! At least I hope so!

I will be posting at least every month so visit back in mid-July for my first post!