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Metta Meditation: The Practice of Loving Kindness

In the Theravada Buddhist tradition Metta is a compliment to Vipassana, the practice of mindfulness. Metta is heart centered and starts by acknowledging that we live in a world of relationships with others. It is the practice of consciously cultivating thoughts of loving-kindness towards an ever widening circle of beings; self, those we admire, friends, strangers, those we have difficulties with, and all beings in general. This practice gradually changes our normal reactive patterns of mind that arise when we interact with people. At the same time Metta is a deep concentration practice.

In this series of eight sessions the practice of Metta along with the underlying philosophy and psychology of the teachings will be progressively examined and practiced.

Each session will start with a short meditation period to settle the body and mind, followed by detailed instructions, followed by a longer sitting where we can immediately practice those instructions. At the end of each session there will be time for questions and discussion. There is no formal charge for these teachings. They are all Dana based.

All of these sessions will be on Thursday nights from 7-8:45pm at Asana Studio in Arvada, CO. It would be best to attend all the sessions to get a complete understanding of the practice. However each session will stand on its own and people are welcome to attend any or all of them.

January 11: The Metta Sutta
The Buddha’s teaching on Loving Kindness, including how to chant the Sutta and understand its meaning.
January 25: Metta for Self
You need to begin with yourself, have feelings of Loving-Kindness for yourself, before you can extend those feeling to others.
February 8: Metta for a Benefactor
Someone you look up to. This category of beings is usually very easy, because we naturally want those who have been of benefit to us to be happy.
February 22: Canceled due to snow.
March 8: Metta for a Dear Friend

S omeone close to you. This category is more complicated because we often have some ambivalence towards certain aspects of our friend’s behavior and personality.
March 22: Metta for a Neutral Person
A stranger. At this point we start stepping outside of or “normal” range of warm feelings for others. The energy of earlier stages helps us to make this connection.
April 12: Metta for a Difficult Person
Someone you do not find it easy to be with. Usually with difficult people the opposite of Loving-Kindness arises, some form of ill-will. How can Metta help us transform these difficult relationships?
April 19: The Importance of Forgiveness
Asking for forgiveness, forgiving others and forgiving ourself are all aspect of Metta practice. All religions and cultures emphasize the importance of forgiveness. How can we practice it?
May 3: Metta for All Beings
Loving-Kindness for All Beings is difficult to imagine/understand, while at the same time it is the ultimate goal of the practice. Several approaches will be discussed and practiced.

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