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Lions Roar : May 2016
STAGE ONE A Warm Fire in Your Heart Metta can accurately be compared with a warm and radiant fire burning in your heart. You cannot expect to light the fire of loving-kindness by starting with a difficult object, no more than you can expect to light a campfire by striking a match under a thick log. So do not begin metta meditation by trying to spread metta to yourself or to an enemy. Instead begin by spreading loving-kindness to something that is easy to ignite with loving-kindness, or what I like to call kind- fulness. Kindfulness enables you to embrace other beings—as well as yourself—just as they and you are. In metta meditation you focus your attention on the feeling of loving-kindness, developing that delightful emotion until it fills the whole mind. The way this is achieved can be compared to the way you light a camp- fire. You start kindfulness with paper or anything else that is easy to light. Then you add kindling, small twigs, or strips of wood. When the kindling is on fire you add thicker pieces of wood, and after a time the thick logs. Once the fire is roaring and very hot, you can even put on wet and sappy logs and they are soon alight. Start with What’s Easy to Love I prepare myself for metta meditation by imagin- ing a little kitten. I like cats, especially kittens, so my imaginary kitten is to loving-kindness as gas is to a flame. I only need to think of my little kitten and my heart lights up with metta. LION’S ROAR | MAY 2016 65