Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I have been getting together my "stuff" for my trip. For the last couple of days I have had this overwhelming anxiety about not having "enough" money to go. I even called family members for help and then yesterday I woke up at 2:30am - I could feel all this "stuff" whirling in my head and a voice said,"Go back to what you know. This is not a trip this is a pilgrimage. You have everything you need." I looked up the word pilgrimage and it is a long journey or search of great moral significance. It was true that I did not feel like I was going to take a vacation...no this journey is much more...As with any journey the beginning is flooded with reasons not to start - there are tugs that say, "you need to do this instead" or "you don't deserve to do this" but Spirit is bringing home. I could go with the clothes on my back and I would ok. It is this kind of faith I need to hold on to when I bump up against discouragement.
I wanted to share the practice of Metta (I may have mentioned it before).
In the Buddhist tradition Metta is the practice of loving kindness. It is said that there are 11 benefits to this practice:
1) You will sleep easily.
2) You will wake easily.
3) You will have pleasant dreams.
4) People will love you.
5) Spiritual beings and animals will love you.
6) Spiritual beings will protect you.
7) External dangers [poisons, weapons, and fire] will not harm you.
8) Your face will be radiant.
9) Your mind will be serene.
10) You will die unconfused.
11) You will be reborn in happy realms.
A teacher once said, "If we are committed in our lives to the force of loving kindness, then people know that they can trust us. They know we will not deceive them; we will not harm them. By being a beacon of trustworthiness in this world, we become a safe haven for others and a good friend."
It is said to not practice Metta if you are angry or upset. It is better to just reflect on the fundamental wish to be happy and for others to be happy.
Metta practice does have a structure. First you start with yourself. Direct loving kindness towards yourself. That feeling of compassion and deep love - send it towards yourself. Second, send this same feeling of deep love and gratitude towards someone you love or who has been very good towards you. Third, send loving kindness towards a friend. Now, send loving kindness to someone neutral - someone you have no real feelings for either way. It may be more difficult to find the neutral person. Lastly, send loving kindness to someone you have had conflict with- someone you have disliked for what ever reason.
May you find this useful and calming.
Posted by Camara Meri Rajabari at 8:19 AM