Metta Meditation as HealingI recently attended a week long Metta Meditation retreat at a center in New England. Western Buddhists translate the word "Metta" to mean loving kindness. The practice is to sit quietly, holding and directing loving kindness first to yourself, then to a benefactor, a teacher, mentor or someone who you are grateful to have in your life. Next, consciousness of loving kindness is directed toward a friend or a dear one in your life, then to a person whose relationship is neutral to you. Sending loving kindness to a person who is difficult or who you have trouble with prepares us to finally expand the gift of loving kindness to all sentient beings.
The form of Metta includes four suggested phrases that can be personalized, which are repeated silently like a mantra. At the retreat we did Metta six times a day for 45 minute sittings interspersed with walking meditations; the instruction was to repeat the phrases throughout the day as well. At home, one can use Metta in a regular meditation practice, for about 20 minutes a day, or when it may be beneficial for calming and centering.
The phrases to be silently repeated are:
May I be free from internal and external suffering or May I be safe.With plenty of time to think, feel and embody these phrases, I simplified them into words that made sense to me, but also began to understand the connection they have to the chakra system and healing. The seven primary chakras are energy votexes located at specific areas of the body. Not only is each chakra related to physical organs, but each has emotional and psychological implications. Keeping the chakras cleared,balanced and charged is the essence of a basic auric healing. It became clear to me that together, the phrases constituted an such a healing.
May I be free from internal and external suffering or May I be safe.May I be safe. or May I live in safety at first might be related to external circumstances. I considered what happens when I don't feel safe and realize I am fearful. My fear is often externalized - like someone will do something to me, that something will be unfair or unexpected, or that something bad will happen. I feel insecure when it seems that things happen in my life that I don't have control over. Though it is important to get intimate with our fears, the transformative agent to fear is trust. With trust in the divine my personal trust is augmented. When my partnership with divine trust grows, my feeling of safety grows. The chakra of divine trust is the fifth chakra which located at the throat. This chakra also governs nourishment of many kinds. When I have plenty to eat, when I am able to openly receive from others and the universe, I feel safe. When I feel confident with my work in the world, and that I can support myself, which are the psychological functions of the rear of the same chakra, I feel safe. My ability to express myself through voice, to regulate my breath and to surrender to the belief that I am never alone coupled with the first chakra of rootedness, belonging and stability in my physical form elicits a sense of safety. These are all 5th chakra issues and elements of the State of being of Divine Love.
When I repeat the first Metta phrase "May I be safe" I am balancing and charging my 5th chakra and my root chakra. The 5th level of the auric field, which is part of the auric field and is related to the fifth chakra is like a protective screen - it is as if the Divine surrounds us with this fifth level of structured light to filter projections, transferences, attack, harm or distortion. Being the template for pure form, brining awareness and consciousness to the divine trust of the 5th level, invites a sense of safety.
May I be free from mental suffering or May I be happy.When I was a child, I used to consider what my goal in life was and I remember coming up with wanting to "be happy". Little did I know the challenge I created! At the beginning of the Metta retreat I quickly associated this phrase with the 3rd and 7th chakras
The third chakra is about how we feel about ourselves in the world. When I am content with myself, I am happy. But, in comes the lower self, the messages of the super ego, the doubt. Self loathing and renumerations of "what ifs" and "only ifs" fill my mind. The busy-ness of the mind, the busy-ness of living in our consumeristic culture keeps my sense of self spinning. The mental suffering of the busy mind increases my sense of separation as well as isolation and keeps me in defense and masked behind my personal pretense. Without a strong sense of self, others projections, comments and behaviors can be taken personally and thereby cause further mental suffering. To be relieved of mental suffering is to have a clear, balanced third center of energy.
The rear aspect of the third chakra is about adequately caring for myself - this greatly effects my sense of happiness as well. When I respect and prioritize my mental, emotional and physical and spiritual needs, I tend to be more happy. To be joyous and content is to be happy.
Supporting clarity of mind and clarity of sense of self is the 7th chakra which assumes no separation from Godliness. To be free from mental suffering allows spaciousness in the solar plexus and invites the sense of being one with the divine. To be free from mental suffering is to know divine intimacy without judgement, ego attachments, self condemnation or mental clutter.
In repeating the phrase "May I be happy", I touch into to the consciousness of the 3rd and 7th chakras and allow loving kindness to saturate the presenting distortions and abrasions until there is a clearing.
May I be free from physical suffering. or May I be healthy.Physical well being of the body is clearly associated with the first chakra. Having physical strength and vigor are a result of adequate diet, exercise, rest. Being physically healthy may not necessarily exclude being ill, but there is a way to be free in one's illness.
Expanding physical well being to all that stems from the earth (or the root) includes well being regarding shelter, clothes, many daily conveniences like paper and therefore books, magazines., paper towels, etc. My diet of not only food but natural resources like water, oil, minerals and the like is included in good health. The earth connection is also about geography, our communities and thus our sense of affiliation. To be free from physical suffering could potentially include all these realms.
Being healthy or free from physical suffering is all inclusive in the hierarchy of wellness. To be healthy is to be wholesome, including moral and spiritual prosperity. If our belief system truly supports our connection with the divine rather than separation, then our minds and emotions will tend toward good health. To be free from physical suffering addresses balance in our root but is also a reflection of health in our beliefs on the 7th level.
It is amazing how these simple phrases have such depth. Sending Metta to ourselves, to our friends and foes and to all beings is a simple but deep healing practice.
May I live with ease or May I be in ease.I interest myself in the order of the phrases as I see that the structural levels of the auric field (1,3 and 5) come first and then the unstructured levels or charkas of 2,4,and 6. Once the structure of our energetic form in intact, then the more emotional or unstructured levels are addressed. When my feelings and relationship with myself and with others are full of loving kindness, I live with ease. Even if all the structures are clear and brilliant, my creativity, sexuality, finances and feelings about myself must flow for me to experience ease. These functions are of the second chakra located in the abdomen. The human heart of the fourth chakra is the bridge between the physical and the spiritual, and represents our relationships with others. Resting in the divine love of the seventh chakra along with human love with others and self love, the final Metta phrase brings me ease. I extend ease to my benefactor, to my friends, to those I don't know too well, to people in my life that are difficult and to all beings. May all beings live with ease.
Naturally, there are hindrances the mind, psyche and body engage in that interfere with sending Metta and therefore perpetuate suffering. Distractions, aversions, doubt and restlessness are defenses we employ to keep us separated from the divine, from ease. The beauty of "Metta Meditation" or loving kindness is that in its essence it is another language for what I do as a healer of the energy consciousness system. I can practice Metta meditation as a form of self healing to prepare myself for working to facilitate this harmony in my patients. Bringing consciousness and loving kindness to what is here in the moment is to charge, balance and restore our energy fields.
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