Monday, 21 February 2011

Loving kindness

These was a moment during practice yesterday, just after my 10 minute tadasana, warm up, sequence and half way through the Sury's of Intermediate when I noticed I was becoming irritated with the back injury, symptoms of frustration, a tightness in my chest. I finished the A's started on the B's and still the tightness, a growing despondency, the irritation turning into annoyance.

Perhaps it's just become automatic now but something clicked, 'May you be happy....' the Buddhist Loving kindness mantra popped into my head, 'May you be happy, may you be safe, may you be well, ,may you be peaceful'. I chanted it in my head a couple of times along with the Sury's and then thought, why not. Stopped my practice, stood in tadasana for a moment getting centered and then repeated the mantra five times before carrying on with the practice where I left off.

Turned out to be a nice Vinyasa Krama modified Intermediate practice.

This morning after my opening chant I did the same, repeating the loving kindness mantra five times before practice, once again a nice gentle practice.

Such a simple thing yet somehow makes a world of difference. I recommend it to everyone trying to practice through an injury at the moment.

'May you be happy,
may you be safe,
may you be well,
may you be peaceful'.

Loving kindness or metta meditation.
The idea here seems to be to break old habits and cultivate new. The Buddhists know we're unlikely to start loving or enemies overnight so you begin by directing Loving kindness at your loved ones and move on from there. In your regular meditation you might begin by chanting the loving kindness mantra to yourself a few times slipping in a loved ones name in place of 'you' while holding their image in your mind. Next might be a friend, a teacher and after a while you might move onto someone who annoys you at work and try and direct loving kindness towards them while chanting the mantra.

It becomes automatic, someone does something that would normally annoy you ( thus causing you mild suffering) and you find yourself automatically chanting, 'May this piece of work who just cut in frount of me at the supermarket till be happy, may this piece of work who just cut in frount of me at the supermarket till be safe......

Here's a link to the Insight neditation audiodharma website where you can find podcasts on Loving kindness meditation by Gil Fronsdal along with pdf transcripts, which is where I learned about it. You can also find podcasts on Insight/Vipassana meditation, Dharma talks and even some natty meditation timers.




Appendix
An extended Loving kindness meditation

May I be free from enmity, may I be free from ill-will, may I be free from affliction, may I be happy, may I be free from suffering, may I not be parted from the good fortune I have attained, as owner of my kamma.

May the community in this monastery... May the guardian deities of this monastery be free from enmity, may they be free from ill-will, may they be free from affliction, may they be happy, may they be free from suffering, may they not be parted from the good fortune they have attained, as owners of their kamma.

May our supporters who provide the four requisites... May our parents, teacher, relatives and friends be free from enmity, may they be free from ill-will, may they be free from affliction, may they be happy, may they be free from suffering, may they not be parted from the good fortune they have attained, as owners of their kamma.

May all living things, all breathing thing, all beings, all persons, all individuals, all women, all men, all noble ones, all worldlings, all deities, all human beings, and all those destined for hell be free from enmity, may they be free from ill-will, may they be free from affliction, may they be happy, may they be free from suffering, may they not be parted from the good fortune they have attained, as owners of their kamma.

In the east, in the south, in the west, in the north, in the northeast, in the southeast, in the southwest, in the north west, below and above; may all living things, all breathing thing, all beings, all persons, all individuals, all women, all men, all noble ones, all worldlings, all

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