Mettā can be a foundation of cornerstone for Equanimity (Upekka). As we cultivate a mind that is more and more impartial the mind where Mettā can shine evenly on everyone the mind becomes less attached to preferences and this quality of mind is more able to meet any moment with ease.
We cover what compassion is and how it can help soothe our pain much better than avoiding or denying it. We distinguish between compassion and pity and then offer a variety of compassion phrases we can use. In the guided meditation, we begin with a dear friend who is undergoing some kind of suffering and then move on to ourselves, offering self-compassion for our own physical or mental suffering.
Compassion is the activity of wisdom. We practice because we care. When we offer ourselves compassion, resistance dissolves and like a gentle rain metta permeates our heart down to the roots of our being.
Metta practice is a wonderful, ancient practice that has parallels in the cultivation of kindness and love in other spiritual traditions; developing the wise heart of kindness is an ancient vocation. There are also parallels with the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his emphasis on bringing love to help transform injustice; we play a brief recording from Dr. King. We also explore different dimensions of Metta practice and how it relates to other pathways of awakening through mindfulness and wisdom. We then look at some of the main challenges of Metta practice, such as distraction, repetitive thoughts, sleepiness, and challenging emotions and body states, and how to practice with them.
We cover the 3 elements of metta practice: generating the energy of friendliness, visualizing the person/being you are sending metta to, and repeating the phrases. We offer various versions of the phrases and introduce the first few categories of beings we can send metta to: self, benefactor, and dear friend. In the guided practice we begin by feeling held and loved by others and then offer this to ourselves, then move on to benefactor and dear friend.
In this Opening talk, the teachers offer a land acknowledgement, introduce themselves, and Kaira Jewel gives a short talk on what metta is, how to practice metta and how we can take refuge in the retreat container.