A Metta Meditation
May I be free of inner and outer harm.
May my physical body be healthy and strong.
May my heart be filled with joy and peace.
May my days unfold with ease.
There are many versions of the metta, or loving kindness, meditation. I find this one to be very powerful. The idea behind the metta meditation is that we have to be able to first love ourselves before we can love others, and we practice generosity and empathy with those easiest to love before moving beyond to those who are harder for us to love. Ultimately, we want to be able to love all beings everywhere equally. This is an unrealistic goal, and yet, the more we practice, the closer we come to the ideal.
When I do this practice, I start by directing the words and thoughts toward myself, then toward each family member, to friends or acquaintances I know need some extra positive energy in their lives, and finally to all beings. I individualize my thoughts for each person or group, based on what I know about them. Here’s how I interpret each line to give you an idea of how to think about each:
May I be free of inner and outer harm. May I know how to express emotions in a way that doesn’t hurt me or other people. May I not be consumed with jealousy or envy. May I not become depressed. May I not be abused by others who have power over me. May I be honest in all my interactions.
May my physical body be healthy and strong. May I respect and value my body enough to take care of it. May I be safe from serious accidents and life threatening diseases. May I learn how to relieve stress in positive ways.
May my heart be filled with joy and peace. May I know the contentment that comes from knowing my gifts and talents are being used to make the world a better place. May I have loving relationships with family and friends. May I be a true friend and a positive influence on others. May I have a sense of being part of something bigger than myself.
May my days unfold with ease. I don’t ask that my days be easy because I know that change is part of life and challenges will make me a better and stronger person. But may I feel supported by family and friends during the challenging times. Whatever the number of my days, let me be comforted by the fact that I’ve lived each day fully. May my death be easy. Let me die knowing that I have loved and been loved.
We always talk about “heart-opening” poses and actions during February. This is a practice that can help us achieve that not only this month, but throughout the year.