Throughout this 28-day meditation challenge, we explore the possibilities of a mind free of the forces of craving, aggression, and delusion. One of the great fruits of such a mind is a the power of unobstructed, unconditional lovingkindness.
The Pali word for lovingkindness is metta. Sometimes, metta is translated simply as “love.” In our culture, the notion of love has assumed a complexity that obscures its true nature. Typically the word love conjures up thoughts of passion or sentimentality. Metta is neither of these, and this distinction is crucial.
The practice of lovingkindness is, at a certain level, the fruition of all we work toward in our meditation. It relies on our ability to open continuously to the truth of our actual experience, not cutting off the painful parts, and not trying to pretend things are other than they are. Just as spiritual growth grinds to a halt when we indulge our tendency to grasp and cling, metta can’t thrive in an environment that is bound to desire or to getting our expectations met.
In lovingkindness, our minds are open and expansive—spacious enough to contain all the pleasures and pains of a life fully lived. Pain, in this context, does’t feel like betrayal or an overwhelming force. It is part of the reality of human experience, and an opportunity for us to practice maintaining our authentic presence.
Click here for a guided Metta Meditation from Sharon Salzberg.
Adapted from Insight Meditation: A Step-by-Step Course on How to Meditate with Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein, an interactive learning program from Sounds True.
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