In our April Newsletter we shared that current neuroscience states 8 minutes of meditation a day will change brain structure positively! Meditation: Part 1
This newsletter, we expand on the phrases presented last time to help gather and direct attention for meditation. Metta is a Pali word defined as “loving kindness,” fierce compassion or freedom of heart. Metta Meditation is a practice where one focuses on a set of phrases that sends kind thoughts first to oneself and then to others. In comparison, Mindfulness Meditation is a practice where one focuses on the immediate present moment without judgement.
Sit comfortably with your spine supported. Closing your eyes will help bring your attention inward. You can keep your eyes open to read the phrases until they are easy to remember.
It is helpful to set a timer for 5 or 8 minutes. The phrases used in Metta Meditation help gather and direct your attention. They give the mind focus, “something to do.” Breathe in and think “May I be free….” Breathe out and think “…of enmity and danger.” Here are phrases to try:
(Inhale) May I be free… (Exhale) …of enmity and danger
(Inhale) May I have…. (Exhale) …mental happiness
(Inhale) May I have… (Exhale) …physical happiness
(Inhale) May I have… (Exhale) …ease of well-being
Direct these phrases in a cycle first to yourself, then to a benefactor, a friend, and then to a neutral person (someone you interact with but don’t know well). Later try to expand your Meta circle to a “difficult” person then to “all beings.” For example you could include a favorite teacher, good friend, the check out person at the store, and the aggressive driver from your commute in your meditation. It is easier to practice with those close to your heart at first.
Our perception of our experience changes when we are able to realize the fact it isn’t what is happening around us, it’s the way we react to what is happening around us that can be upsetting. Meditation allows us to create spaciousness between stimulus and our reaction to that stimulus on a daily basis.
Sylvia Boorstein updated the language of the classic phrases in her book Happiness is an Inside Job
You can give them a try too:
(Inhale) May I feel… (Exhale) …contented and safe.
(Inhale) May I feel… (Exhale) …protected and pleased.
(Inhale) May my physical body… (Exhale) …support me with strength.
(Inhale) May my life unfold… (Exhale) …smoothly with ease.
Miriam Graham, PT, DPT, MBA May 2018
Image Credit: http://www.sylviaboorstein.com/books/