Some thoughts on Metta

Charlie Ambler, thank you for writing a fantastic piece of thought and a great article to treasure. As always. Also, a great parable. Take life as is, do not attach your own perceptions and go with the flow.

I was expecting at some point, perhaps here where you wrote about how our thoughts control us, to jump into the topic of metta versus mindfulness of breath mediation. The tradition of loving kindness meditation is different from the tradition of breath meditation. In breath meditation, we focus on the breath sitting silently as we do, and indeed it is possible to divert attention to the breath at all times when we are distracted. It is a powerful meditation that brings you back to reality of the present at all times.

Then there is this Metta meditation, which I did not understand till recently. Where you focus on one or a group of four ideas somewhat related:

  • May I be safe (“safe” as in out of harm’s way, and safe as in may I be a safe haven for everyone)
  • May I be physically healthy (kind of self explanatory)
  • May I be mentally healthy
  • May I achieve ease of well being (I interpret that as some kind of relaxation)

The idea is to come back to this thought, realise it with all your heart and soul, over and over again when you sit. You start with yourself first, then people you love, then people who are indifferent, and then finally, people whom you perceive as hostile to you (this is the hardest part it seems to me at least). The idea is same as you expressed here: our thoughts will control our actions and our actions our consequences and our lives.

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Also in:

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