changing up the words to my metta

for the past few months i’ve been splittling my meditation in half. i’m up to 20 minutes/day (and 1h on friday or saturday when i can) and i’ve been doing 10 minutes of one thing and ten of another. for the last few weeks i’ve been doing some combination of

with the lovingkindness meditation, though, i was struggling with the words. mostly because i kept forgetting them or forgetting the order of the lines. was it…

may __ be peaceful
may __ be happy
may __ be well
may __ be safe
may __ be free from suffering

or is it…

may __ be peaceful
may __ be happy
may __ be safe
may __ be well
may __ be free from suffering

?

honestly, i knew and know that it doesn’t matter that much. but when meditating, anything that pulls my attention away from my point of focus is distracting.

then, at the on being gathering, i sat in a meditation session with sharon salzberg and she said some things that opened up my practice for me.

one of them was that there really aren’t “right ways” to meditate. there are traditional ways and ways that different schools practice. but even within those, people often shift things to work for them. there, for sure, is value in learning to make something work for you (i.e. adopting a practice as it comes without modifying it). but also, the bigger picture point isn’t to be meditating. it’s to be in better relationship with your thoughts and mind and body and spirit. so, like… do whatever it takes to get to that. i’m so grateful for being able to attend that session. thank you, sharon.

she also mentioned that for some people, especially in the lovingkindness meditation when you have to hold someone that you dislike or even hate, that the typical words might not fit. so then modify the words! i was :O

so now i’ve actually changed all the words. my personal version of the lovingkindness or metta meditation:

may __ be peaceful
may __ be joyful
may __ be well
may __ be secure in community
may __ be free from suffering

i changed happy to joyful because happiness, imo, is fleeting and can be a harmful goal to chase. and i changed safe to ‘secure in community’ because i believe safety is an illusion and the only true safety is being in right relationship with your community such that protection from harm is collective.

so now, for march, i’ll be practicing 10 minutes of walking meditation (to forest hills station from my house) and then 10 minutes of metta with my modified words (the train ride from forest hills to mass ave). and then i can read on the bus from mass. ave to work.

i’m such a nerd. bloop. &shrug;

ps - also loved her story about traveling all the way to india and then finding a teaching and then being upset when all the teacher told her to do was focus on her breath. she was like… “i came all the way over here just to breathe?!?!? i was thinking there was gonna be some mind-blowing, earth-shattering technique to learn!” amazing.

words / writing / post-processing
535w / 15min / 10min