I did 31 half-hour metta meditations, near-daily. Here are some thoughts.
- some regular contemplative practice has got to be helpful to me, right?
- “being more loving” would be a really good thing in my life right now (and in general, but it especially kinda feels like the transformation I’ve got to make right now)
- someone tweeted something like “if your internal monologue isn’t constantly about how you love yourself, you should do metta until it is” - I have no idea if that’s right for me, but it sort of fits. In the “sila, samadhi, pañña” three pillars (where sila is “everyday life”, samadhi is “concentration”, and pañña is “insight”), I always just assumed I had sila under control and I could move on, because I have generally loving family, good job, house, no problems, etc; but maybe not. Maybe “having sila under control” means you generally love yourself. At any rate, my internal monologue is closer to “I kinda dislike myself” than “I love myself.” So maybe metta is the ticket.
This guy Tasshin Fogleman publishes a podcast of metta meditations. Each one is about 30 min, no nonsense, very easy to follow.
Each one has a similar format: 1. Get comfortable. 2. Relax. 3. Smile. 4. Direct some love at yourself. 5. Think of a person/animal who’s easy to love and direct some love to them. 6. (Something different every time.)
I’d do them at night before going to bed, lying in bed. It’s very nice to just lie down and relax, and not try to maintain some kinda half-relaxed-but-actually-a-little-strained quarter-lotus/Burmese/kneeling position. I appreciated this. A few times, maybe 1/4 of the time, I’d fall asleep - no problem, I’d pick up again tomorrow.
Sometimes I’d do them under a mild dose of cannabis. My old Buddhist brain is like “ohh noo I’m getting hindranced”, but y’know what, it helps! I think usually it helped me generate love. (Sometimes it did make me fall asleep. C’est la vie.)
a couple interesting moments
- one day when trying to say nice things to myself, I came up with “I love the way you smile.” That’s not something I’ve thought before, and it was nice to hear.
- one time the instruction was something like “think of a loving kindness mantra” and I came up with “you are forgiven, you are worthy.” It brought me back to one of my most powerful experiences. It was nice.
- I am dealing with a screaming baby sometimes now. Sometimes in meditation I would send love to my future or past self who’s trying to calm the screaming baby. Unfortunately, when I then became my future self, I couldn’t receive this love.
thoughts on “acting as if”
There’s a powerful move I’ve started to see: “act as if.” When he says something like “generate love towards your easy-to-love person”, I’d think, “huh, I really can’t.” But then, “what if I had to? how would it sound?” And then I would be able to a little more. This isn’t really limited to metta meditation - I notice it a lot of other places, likry coffee tasting, as well.
- most of the time I was just going through the motions. Enough that I’m not excited to keep doing it.
- otoh, maybe I’m “planting seeds that will sprout later”
- otooh, ugh, mannn
- maybe this would be easier if I weren’t trying to do it at maybe the most difficult point of my life
- but maybe the urgency brings motivation
- my inner monologue is the same
- but it’s a little easier than other meditations I’ve done
- in conclusion, big shrug, oh well
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