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Lions Roar : July 2017
See if you can recall feelings of care, kindness, and friendliness. Let them permeate your heart area. Stay with this while moving into the next step. If the feelings seem inaccessible or difficult right now, stay with the spaciousness and breathing into the belly and chest areas. 4. Do the recitation. Reciting phrases is a classic way of prac- ticing metta. Whether we believe the phrases in the moment or not, it’s still useful to say them; they give the heart and mind something to land on and to aspire to. You can express them in any way you want, with these basic senti- ments in mind. Repeat these phrases for the length of your practice period: May I be safe May I be healthy May I be happy MayIbeatease May I be filled with loving-kindness May I be peaceful In metta practice, it is normal for the doubting mind to pop up and challenge the notion of loving ourselves and oth- ers. Don’t let this doubt stop you. It is important to know that metta is not a practice of perfection, but one of cultiva- tion. This is our practice—freeing our heart and mind from the clutches of fear, hatred, and confusion, regardless of what is happening in the world around us. I am happy to report, after trying it myself, that this skeptic is now convinced! ♦ 1. Put your body at ease. Find a physically comfortable space. Sitting in a comfortable chair or lying down is helpful. If you feel at ease on a meditation cushion, that is fine too. The idea is to find a posture that allows the body to be in as much ease as possible. Allow yourself to feel held and supported by whatever you’re sitting or lying on. Closing the eyes can help to facilitate ease. If that’s not comfortable, then allow the eyes to be open and gazing softly at a singular point. 2. Soften the belly and chest. Intentionally soften the belly to start. Feel the expansion and contraction as each breath fills the belly and chest area. Allow your breathing to facilitate space in your belly and chest area. Take your time; there’s no rush. If you feel tension, that’s okay. 3. Recall feelings of love and kindness. Focus on the heart area. Placing your hand on your heart can add to this step. Skillful Means for Engaged Buddhism SEE ENTIRE CALENDAR, TEACHINGS, AND MORE AT WWW.UPAYA.ORG SANTA FE, NM 505-986-8518 ext. 112