We all have a tendency to love our dear ones. Our knowledge and capability to show love helps us in communicating with everyone around us. However, has it ever occurred to you that your kindness and warmth should spread across all horizons and across all beings?
Love, kindness, and warmth keep us going in the hardest of times. Yet, we are not capable of loving everyone around us. We think we are the best version of ourselves, but we don’t realize that we could become better too. We can spread our love more, and this will bring back more love towards us. We can concentrate strongly on being a better person. This way, the world too, will be a better place. Metta meditation is a way of spreading your kindness to the world as much as you can.
The Two Paths Of Meditation
There are two main paths of meditation according to Buddhism: metta meditation and vipassana meditation. It has been observed that there is no such functional difference between the two. However, the difference lies in their practices. While metta meditation is a concentration practice, vipassana meditation is an insight practice.
In metta meditation, we tend to concentrate our minds with love and kindness for the world, while in vipassana meditation, we become more aware of our experiences and the changes in our experiences. Both are good in their own ways, and there is no preference over the other. Each of them have the same characteristics of impermanence(anicca), unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), and having no separate existence (anatta).
What Is Metta Meditation?
When we direct loving-kindness to ourselves, the feeling of love and kindness expands to people we love. Our feelings, as a result, expands to people towards whom we feel neutral as well. This expands towards people with whom we have difficulty, and in this process, our feeling of love and kindness gets directed towards everyone around us without any sense of distinction.
How Do You Practice Metta Meditation?
Unlike vipassana meditation, you do not focus on the ultimate nature of phenomena in metta meditation. Here, you choose a particular object of meditation, which is the metta phrase. This metta phrase could be “May I feel happy.” This phrase should be held as dearly and carefully as you hold any infant or any fragile, precious item. Distractions will inevitably arise as you think about the phrase. All you need to do is drop the distractions and keep cherishing the phrase, as that would be the object you have chosen. This choice of a particular object to focus on makes metta meditation is a practice of concentration.
Is Metta Meditation All About Concentration?
It has been observed that people tend to get insightful doing metta meditation as well. This is because it is a concentration practice, and you choose to focus on a certain object, which means that you drive your attention only towards that object. That moment when you are letting all the distractions go and focus only on your object is quite instructive in manner as it shows what you are holding on to. At this moment, you are sneaking into your wisdom and becoming insightful.
What and How Do You Let Go?
While you practice metta meditation, you let your distractions go, i.e. the characteristics of anicca, dukkha, and anatta. The habit of letting these emotions go become easy, and you begin to understand the importance of your object. When you let go, you start finding wisdom, although you never expected to find it. Finally, you get a sense of non-separateness, which comes as you open your heart and become inclusive, rather than exclusive.
What Is Loving-Kindness?
People who practice metta meditation realize during their practice that they have the amazing capability to provide loving-kindness to themselves as well as other people. Metta meditation helps us open and purify our intentions. This infuses with vipassana meditation and makes us realize that we have the capability to give love, and ultimately, everything comes back to love.
If metta meditation makes the world a better place to live in, it is important for us to practice it and help the world restore peace.