We are not currently meeting 'in-person'

We are not currently meeting 'in-person.'
I have made the difficult decision to stop holding our in-person Sunday night meetings - you can read more about this in my post here. I will be continuing to post weekly content here and in our newsletter. Do remember to sign up for the 'Metta Letter' newsletter below as I will be sending out weekly meditations there.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Why Metta is Important
(Meditation for Sunday 4th October)

Why Metta is Important

One of the hardest things I am finding writing these messages at the moment is keeping a focus on why all of this is important. It is easy to feel that with everything that is happening right now meditation and the cultivation of lovingkindness is a 'luxury' - nice to have but there are much more important things going on that should be our focus.

Of course we all know that this way of thinking couldn't be more wrong. When things are difficult a focus on generating love for all beings is the most important thing we can do. As I often say after we practice metta meditation, we all can agree that if everyone else was more loving the world would be a better place. The reality is though that we can only make our self more loving. That is what we should strive for.

While it is easy to get carried along with the current narrative of anger, hatred, suspicion and division we have the opportunity to do something truly radical - to stand out and instead speak lovingly from the heart.

We are told this in the Dhammapada:
'He    insulted me,
    hit me,
    beat me,
    robbed me'
 — for those who brood on this,
    hostility isn't stilled.

'He insulted me,
hit me,
beat me,
robbed me' —
for those who don't brood on this,
    hostility is stilled.

Hostilities aren't stilled
    through hostility,
Hostilities are stilled
through non-hostility:
    this, an unending truth.

Unlike those who don't realize
that we're here on the verge
    of perishing,
those who do:
    their quarrels are stilled.
In the current climate this can be challenging - which is why we do the practice. Our days are spent seeing others telling us that we should be angry, that we should hate and blame. Our most important action can be to choose otherwise, and to cultivate metta, lovingkindness instead. Hostilities aren't stilled through hostility but through non-hostility. This is an unending truth.
This is something we all have to cultivate. It isn't something that just happens, or that we just declare, it is something we have to work on. As Gospel Singer Graham Kendrick wrote:
Teach me to love the unlovely O Lord
I don’t know how to do it
Teach me to love the impossible people
I really don’t like
I don’t naturally take to some folks
I can’t make out the way that they are
I just don’t understand other people who aren’t like me at all
This is the work we need to do, and it is hard. The practice of Metta Bhavana - cultivating unconditional love for all beings - is a difficult but powerful one. And I can't really think of anything more important right now.

Metta, Chris.

I have linked below a fully-guided audio meditation on why cultivating metta is important. If you are new to metta meditation or are rusty then this might be a good one for you to try. A few of us have committed to press 'play' at 7pm PT on Sunday October 4th. You can of course listen at any time, but you are also welcome to join us then if you wish.

Please feel free to share this letter and the meditation with anyone you wish.

"Yamakavagga: Pairs" (Dhp I), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Access to Insight (BCBS Edition), 30 November 2013
Banksy Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

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