Plant the Seeds of Love
Over the past ten years I have had the privilege of leading many different types of guided meditations yet my favorite is a Buddhist practice known as metta or lovingkindness meditation. In metta meditation you start with your own heart and radiate metta or lovingkindness out into the world in waves. The process allows you to reflect on each relationship in your life, starting with the relationship you have with yourself. I like to begin by inviting lovingkindness into my own heart and filling whatever emptiness is there until I am so full of love that I have plenty to share. And then I let the metta flow.
Traditionally, the first wave of metta is directed at your honored teachers. Next you radiate lovingkindness to your family members, and then to your friends, and then to your acquaintances. As you continue to expand your circle of lovingkindness, you direct metta to those with whom you have a grievance and finally to all sentient beings on the planet.
Let the Love Flow
The process of opening to metta allows you to establish lovingkindness first in your heart and then as the foundational element of every other relationship past, present, and future. Looking at life through the lens of lovingkindness allows you to view each relationship as a divine connection. You step forward with compassion, appreciating that the other person is doing their best from their own level of consciousness. Deepak Chopra has often referred to this as the “mirror of relationships,” in which I see the other in myself and myself in the other. The Sanskrit expression for this is tat tvam asi – which can be translated as “I am that.”
In the last month I've had the pleasure of officiating at the weddings of two friends who are also former Chopra Center employees. In the swirl of the present moment and feeling that sweet convergence of friends and family members who traveled from all over the world, I chose to begin their ceremonies with a metta meditation – filling what is empty and emptying what is full. Leading hundreds of people in a process of heart-opening self-awareness is already profound; yet when it also contains a deep connection to others – we all feel the power of the collective and our relationship to source . . . to oneness.
Expanding the Sweetness of Life
It now feels so intuitive for me to practice a ten-minute metta meditation to start my day. I encourage you to do the same. This process of self-reflection and effortless flow of love are foundational elements of any relationship – whether with yourself, your friends, or your companions in life.
If you can practice metta on a daily basis, the sweetness in your life will expand and your connection to others will take on new meaning and a greater depth of lovingkindness. Whether you are in a committed relationship with another being or solely with yourself, you can always bring a bit more love and kindness into your life.
With metta. –davidji