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Lions Roar : January 2018
METTA MEDITATION IS NOT a magi- cal spell you can cast on the population of the U.S. in order to produce a state of utopian bliss. It is not a cure-all for oppression and the unequal distribution of power and privilege. Metta meditation doesn’t work like that. It’s about being determined, coura- geous, and patient in purifying your own heart and mind. Metta is a meditation practice that MUSHIM PATRICIA IKEDA is a Buddhist teacher, community activist, and diversity and inclusion consultant based in Oakland. ILLUSTRATIONSBYTOMIUM HOW TO PRACTICE Metta for a Troubled Time MUSHIM PATRICIA IKEDA teaches us how to generate loving-kindness and good will as an antidote to hatred and fear. involves concentrating and reciting, either silently or out loud, phrases of good wishes toward yourself and others. Metta is usually translated as “loving- kindness,” but I prefer Thanissaro Bhik- khu’s translation of metta as “good will.” What this form of meditation is designed to do—and for many people does very successfully—is to purify us of hatred and ill will. Good will is the antidote to ill will. Good will, or loving- kindness, is the antidote to ill will, hatred, and enmity. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., talked about the need for “aggressive nonviolence.” There are times and situations in which we have to show up and throw down, and this may be such a time. Whether I do that from a mind of toxic hatred, or from a mind that recognizes that every human being has at some point been my mother, my parent, or guardian, depends on how well I practice metta. When you practice good will, you remove fear and negative reactivity from your mind. For me, this is what is most important about many people practicing metta, together or individually, whenever it is necessary to reduce the conflict and hatred that emerge so quickly from fear LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2018 27 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE