“The light of loving-kindness can be compared to that of the stars, the sun, or the moon. It shines on all loving beings everywhere, encompassing them all without exception or bias.”
Today, we will move on to the next the category – Beloved. A Beloved is simply a family member or close friend. Beloveds are those we have built close relationships with, those whom we trust and feel positive toward. Simply thinking about this person in our life generates a warm, positive feeling. As we explored with our foundational practice and the category of benefactor, the Beloved we choose to work with should generate overall positive feelings.
Often, offering Metta for the Beloved may feel easy; perhaps even easier than offering Metta to ourselves. This is something to simply notice. Usually, we are deepening the already good feelings we have for this person. In our current times, it is possible that we may be separated from many of our beloved friends and family members. Practicing Metta for these beings can be a way to cultivate our sense of connection with them and bring positive energy into our own experience. Offering Metta can give us an opportunity to support someone when we cannot be in direct connection or help in an explicit way. This is one of the gifts the practice brings.
Also, sometimes difficult feelings may arise as we offer Metta to a Beloved. You may feel anxiety or worry for your Beloved friend or family member. You may remember something upsetting that happened in relating with them and feel angry, annoyed or frustrated. You may feel envious of some experience your Beloved is having, a happier relationship or less stressful experiences. Just know that these are natural feelings to have as a human being. Practicing lovingkindness offers us the opportunity to know ourselves and accept all of who we are more fully, with gentleness and compassion.
If you find that as you focus on your beloved mixed or difficult feelings arise, you can always use the “switchback” we’ve explored by offering some phrases of lovingkindness for yourself or by coming back to your foundational practice. When you feel to, you can return to offering Metta for your Beloved or can bring in another Beloved if it feels to difficult to practice for this person. We will have an opportunity to work with those beings who stir up difficult feelings as we move forward in the practice.
Today, in the daily practice, I offer some options for language in the phrases as we offer Metta to others. This is something for your to explore to see what feels best for you. You may wish to refer to this other being as YOU, talking to them directly, you may wish to use their NAME or you may wish to use the THIRD person, He or She. Explore this a bit today or over the next few days to see what feels comfortable for you.
Before moving into the practice, take a few moments to call in the image of a Beloved, someone we have a very positive relationship with. See who pops into your to mind, feel into your heart center and say a round of phrases for her or him. If there is more than one, see which one feels most resonant for right now?
This practice is helping you to choose who to practice for each day. It is also helping you to experience more of what is in your heart and how to make choices that are in alignment with your heart’s desires rather than with the mind. Learning to let your heart be your guide is a part of moving into a new way of being. We’ve been exploring “tuning in” as we have worked with the foundational practice and it is something that can be utilized as we move throughout the categories. It can also be a beneficial heart-centered practice on it’s own. I encourage you to take some time to work with this aspect of the practice both in formal sitting meditation and informal on the spot practice as well.
Do your foundational practices. We begin as always by cultivating loving-kindness and compassion for ourselves as this is the foundation for offering it to others. Get comfortable and settle into your breath. Spend a few moments centering on your heart. Imagine yourself sitting in a circle surrounded by loving beings or one loving being. Then, say a few rounds of phrases for your self or spend longer as you guided feel to:
- May I be happy.
- May I be peaceful.
- May I be free of suffering.
- May I be free ease of well-being.
When you feel filled with the energy of lovingkindness bring an image of the Beloved you have chosen to work with clearly into your mind and heart. Let yourself feel what it feels like to be in the presence of that being. Allow yourself to enjoy being with that person; maybe it’s someone you are separated from during our current quarantine. Begin by saying to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.” Then, begin repeating the phrases for your Beloved:
- May you / name / he / she be happy.
- May you / name / he / she be peaceful.
- May you / name / he / she be free of suffering.
- May you / name / he / she be free ease of well-being.
Practice as long as you feel to or have committed to for today. At any point that you become distracted or difficult feelings arise, you can use the switchback by returning to offering Metta to yourself or reconnecting with your foundational practice.
When you feel completed for today, explore taking a few moments at the end to dedicate the merit of your practice for the benefit of all beings. You can do this in any way that feels appropriate to you; we will explore this more as we move on in our practice. Here is a simple way to dedicate the merit of your practice for all beings:
- May all beings have happiness and it’s cause.
- May all beings be free of suffering, joyous content and at ease.
- May all beings be balanced in equanimity towards one and all.
- May the merit of my practice be for my own benefit and for that of all sentient beings.
Daily Journaling Practice:
Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today.
- How did it feel to practice Metta for a Beloved?
- Was it different from practicing for a Benefactor/Mentor?
- How is your practice going?
- Are you able to continue making some time everyday to sit or practice in some way?
- If not, what is stopping you?
- What is your commitment to yourself right now in terms of making time to bring more loving-kindness into your life?
Remember, practicing can be any way that works for you. Five minutes will do if that’s all you have. But, keep in mind that research has shown that 15 minutes a day of Lovingkindness practice can create a positive shift in our overall attitude toward life.
May you experience a blessed and joyful day.
Tashi Deleh! (I honor the greatness within you!).
- May Is For Metta Page
- Introducing To May Is For Metta! Daily Posts Start Tomorrow!
- Exploring Metta Meditation
- Apple Podcast Carving A New Path Interview on May Is For Metta
- Youtube Carving A New Path Interview on May Is For Metta
- Day 1 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Our Journey of Lovingkindness Begins
- Day 2 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Circle of Loving Being
- Day 3 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Lovingkindness for Ourselves
- Day 4 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Offering Lovingkindness to Ourselves
- May Is For Metta 2020 Introduction & Foundational Practice Video
- May Is For Metta 2020 Introduction & Foundational Practice Audio
- Day 5 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Strengthening Our Foundational Practice
- Day 6 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Expanding Lovingkindness & Compassion in Ourselves
- Day 7 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Offering Lovingkindness to a Benefactor
- Soundcloud Audio Introduction & Guided Metta for Benefactor
- Day 8 ~ May Is For Metta 2020: Lovingkindness for a Benefactor