Mindfulness Meditation and Metta…
Buddhism teaches us that mindfulness is a way to live happily and peacefully.
What is mindfulness? Being mindful means the opposite to having a “mind full” of random thoughts that are usually focused on the past or the future. Rather, it’s being fully in the present moment. Any thoughts you do have, are “here” and “now.”
Why would that matter? Well, when you think about the past, are you always happy? Do you think about things you did wrong, or times you failed, or times you were hurt or you hurt someone… do you wish you could undo these events? Or, if you’re reminiscing about something wonderful that happened, do you find yourself being unhappy with the present and wish that you could go back to that time when you were happy?
What about the future? Are your thoughts centered on what you want and what can go right, or are you living under the weight of worry?
Practicing mindfulness generates within us an inner serenity and deeper insight to life.
We become happier and more appreciative of the little things that go by unnoticed when our thoughts are in another time and place.
However, in our modern day busy lives, practicing mindfulness 24/7 is not so easy. There’s always something to do, and many of us struggle with feeling guilty about “sitting and doing nothing.”
While periodically being still, quieting the mind and bringing your attention to your breath going in and out for a few moments can be very beneficial and is especially useful in times of worry or stress… it’s not the only way to “be here, now.”
Anything you do can be an exercise in mindfulness, whether it’s walking, working, making love, cooking, driving, playing with the kids…
It is said, though, that the practice of mindfulness is not complete without the addition of metta. Metta is a Pali word with several meanings: loving-kindness is the meaning most often used but metta also means friendliness, goodwill, benevolence, fellowship, amity, inoffensiveness and non-violence. Its definition is the strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others.
With regular practice, metta can bring about a wonderful feeling of fellowship and love for our fellow men.
As the Buddha said:
Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. Only by non-hatred (loving-kindness) is hatred appeased.
When you practice mindfulness and metta at the same time, you can bring about a peaceful, happy and fruitful life.
Here’s an example of incorporating a metta prayer into your mindfulness meditation:
If you don’t have a regular meditation practice, simply do it whilst listening to our FREE 8 Minute Meditation.
- As you relax, take note of your mood.
- Notice how you are feeling in this moment.
- Next, send out wave after wave after wave of positive, loving feelings toward a person who has hurt you recently. Whether it’s a big hurt or a small hurt, this exercise will help shift your energy away from constricting negative feelings about this person, to an expansive, forgiving, compassionate energy.
- It might feel awkward and difficult to start but that’s just your ego talking – continue with this practice anyway, and notice how your mood starts to lift.
Within a few minutes, you will feel lighter and brighter. You’ll harbor less and less negative feelings toward this person. Feels great, doesn’t it?
I mean the whole thing about meditation and yoga is about connecting to the higher part of yourself, and then seeing that every living thing is connected in some way. – Gillian Anderson
The mindfulness part of this exercise is taking note of how you feel as you deliberately send loving-kindness energy to this person. Don’t stop there – send this sentiment to everyone you know and every living being, for an incredible experience!
The practice is easily enhanced by brainwave entrainment because you’ll be less tempted to start thinking about the event and bringing up all the emotions from it. You will find it easier to relax into a lovely peaceful state where your thoughts don’t consume you – and even if something triggers an unpleasant memory and emotion, you can quickly regain your equilibrium and return to consciously sending this person loving-kindness energy.
You will benefit greatly from this simple practice. You just never know how it could change your life, to be here now, consciously loving everyone – even and especially those you deem unlovable!