I have made a decision, odd as that might seem. I have decided to practice the discipline of metta, the active practice of compassion:
Here is a link to some detailed information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mettā
Mettā (Pali: मेत्ता in Devanagari) or maitrī (Sanskrit: मैत्री) is benevolence, friendliness, benevolence, amity, friendship, good will, kindness, close mental union (on same mental wavelength) and active interest in others. To me this is not a meditation that I do for 20 minutes a day, it is an act of will or willingness to embody compassion.
Day 1: So how to begin? I am going to make this simple as is my custom and hopefully easy. I will actively stop negative thoughts about myself, yeah, I know, it’s not possible to screen out all those little suckers, but I can consciously ignore and refrain from engaging in the following: gossip, negative criticism, vitriolic diatribes about other peoples driving,
Day 2: My problem is with things not so much with people. I swore at the pegs as they dropped from my freezing hands as I hung out the washing. It’s a form of self abuse… Funny though just how nasty I can be to a peg… the pegs are now safeish…
Day 3: Sat and actually did a laughing practice that tones the brain to be more receptive to the endorphins of happiness, so far I’m still smiling.
Day 4: Started the sitting practice of metta (each stage should last about 5 minutes for a beginner). See description below…
Day 5: So far so good, watching those negative self criticisms come and go and just ignoring them. So far nothing really challenging has come up ‘cept a few objects being dropped. Every day is an open book, tragedy or comedy, horror, bodice ripper, fantasy or mystery, I’m getting the distinct impression that the choice is mine.
Stage 1.You start by imagining feeling of loving kindness (metta) towards yourself. Become aware of yourself, and focusing on your feelings of peace, calm, and tranquillity. Then you let these grow in to feelings of strength and confidence, and then develop into love within your heart. Sit tall to allow testosterone to flood you with the hormones of confidence, takes about 3 minutes.
Stage 2.Next, think of a good friend. Bring them to mind vividly, and think of their admirable qualities. Feel your connection with your friend, and your liking for them, and encourage these to grow by repeating ‘may they be well; may they be happy’ quietly to yourself. You can also use an image, such as shining light from your heart into theirs. You can use these techniques — a phrase or an image — in the next two stages as well.
Stage 4.Then think of someone you feel reasonably neutral towards. This may be someone you do not know well but see around. You reflect on their humanity, and include them in your feelings of metta.
Then think of someone you actually dislike — an enemy. Trying not to get caught up in any feelings of hatred, you think of them positively and send your good will and metta to them.
Stage 5.In the final stage, think of all four people — yourself, the friend, the neutral person and the enemy. Then extend your feelings further — to everyone around you, to everyone in your neighbourhood; in your town, your country, and so on throughout the world. Have a sense of waves of loving-kindness spreading from your heart into the universe in concentric expanding waves.