Tag Archives: lovingkindness

NaPoWriMo 2017 Day 4: The Need for Lovingkindness


Last August
I taught my students lovingkindness meditation,
explaining the stages of metta:
offering to self,
then to a loved one,
then to a neutral person,
and then to someone toward whom
you feel aversion.
While we were meditating
I mused that I couldn’t
really find anyone toward whom
I felt aversion.
And then I remembered
a person so ridiculous,
so crass, so pompous,
I thought,
Ah yes! This person will work.
I’ll send metta to them.
I smiled as I sent lovingkindness their way,
feeling safe and secure
in my belief
that there was no way this person
could ever affect me or my life.
And then November came,
and a huge upset,
in the morning I found myself
checking and rechecking
to see if I was hallucinating
or if this was reality,
a reality
that left me reeling, crying,
in misbelief, in mourning.
I still can’t believe it’s real,
that this crass, pompous,
ridiculous person
could actually be where they are,
doing what they are doing.
And now when I meditate,
the aversion is more real,
and therefore so is the need for metta.

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt caused me to stretch a bit. I suppose that for many of you, there were be no question about to whom I’m referring–my words will not be so enigmatic because so many feel just as I do. So perhaps this poem is really a shout out to all of my fellow wayfarers to let you know–you are not alone!

This Practice


As I sat this evening
it suddenly occurred to me
that I was spending
a lot of time mulling
over the decisions
of our current commander in chief.
I have spent time worrying,
feeling frustrated,
feeling angry,
feeling incredulous,
feeling mortified,
feeling cheated,
feeling afraid.
As I sat, I remembered
that sending the thoughts
born of these feelings
into an atmosphere
already charged with fear and negativity
will help no one, including myself.
What to do, I asked myself.
It doesn’t do any good to hate.
Although I completely disagree
with his actions, his rhetoric, his decisions,
his vision,
he is a human being after all,
and like me, he wants happiness,
safety, peace.
Lovingkindness is the antitdote
to hateful feelings.
Ah yes, lovingkindness, or metta
meditation. Here goes.
As I have done many times before,
I pictured the object of my meditation
sitting there in front of me.
There he was, Mr. Trump,
his face in my mind,
and I began repeating the phrases of metta:
May you be safe
May you be happy
May you be healthy,
May you be peaceful and at ease.

I was able to generate genuine
feelings of compassion for him,
and to feel sorry for him,
being the object of so much hatred,
and under so much pressure
to make so many decisions
that will affect so many beings.
May you be safe,
May you be happy,
May you be healthy,
May you be peaceful and at ease.
Given recent events,
I know I have my work cut out for me,
but I commit to this practice
for the benefit of all beings,
this practice that gives me hope,
this practice that brings healing,
this practice that reminds me
of the inherent goodness of all.

Musings on New Year’s Eve


Ever since I can remember
I’ve mused about
how this particular time
has been made so special
by our species.
In the rest of the animal kingdom
creatures are going about their lives
just as they always have.
What do they care of
numbers on a clock,
numbers on a calendar?
Everything takes on the importance
that we assign to it.
Without the name “New Year”
this day would be as humble
as any other day.
A part of me feels amused
at all of the hullabaloo
we’ve made of the whole thing–
expensive dinners, champagne,
fireworks, masses of humans
waiting for a gigantic ball to drop…
And simultaneously
I cannot help
but let myself become swept up
in the current of excitement
over the New Year.
And so tonight I sat.
I chanted for all beings to find peace.
I imagined the planet
enveloped in lovingkindness,
the planet spinning
within my own heart.
Breathing in, I welcomed the whole universe,
breathing out I dissolved into space.
This normal, humble moment,
made extraordinary
by the importance we’ve assigned to it.

There is Hope


Peaceful and at ease.
Sending the sincere desire
that all beings
have their needs met,
that all beings find
some space to express
their creative essence.
I like to think
that lovingkindness meditation
is exponentially stronger
than any unkindness
that exists in the world.
I like to think
that my  little effort
has true positive impact
on the world around me.
Take a deep breath.
Send out the sincere desire
that all beings be
peaceful and at ease.
Feel in your heart
how your little effort
has true positive impact
on the world around you.
Now imagine
millions of us doing this
at any moment
around this world.
You see?
There really is hope.
This world really is good.



The Pali word metta
is translated as lovingkindness.
Metta meditation is a wonderful practice
in which we summon and extend
genuine feelings
of care, concern, compassion,
and good will
beginning by directing
these feelings toward ourselves,
and then sending these feelings
to a loved one,
then to a neutral person,
then to a difficult person
and finally to all beings.
We repeat the phrases of lovingkindness
while holding an image of the recipient
in our minds:
May I (you, all beings) be safe,
May I (you, all beings) be happy,
May I (you, all beings) be healthy
May I (you, all beings) be peaceful and at ease.
Imagine what a world this would be
if all beings practiced metta.
There is an opening in the heart,
a softness, a tenderness,
and in this place
there exists no intention to cause harm,
only the intention to help, and to heal.
Yes, imagine what a world this would be
if all beings practiced metta.

Nurture Peace


I look into your eyes,
I see your pain.
What can I do?
Recent events
serve to reinforce
what we already knew.
At first I feel powerless,
but then I stop and remember.
The outer world is
a reflection of the inner
without exception.
If I want to see
a peaceful world out there,
I need to rediscover and nurture
the peace in my heart,
right where it has always been.

Every Mindful Breath


Let go of the myth
that we are separate
and somehow, maybe,
we might begin to experience
true connectedness.
Weaving its way through our hearts
we find a strumming, throbbing desire
to know peace, to know joy
to know love–
we all share in this desire,
and it connects us.
Dancing through our minds
is the wish to be free from suffering
to be free of worry
to be free of fear.
We all share in this wish,
and it connects us.
Our joys and sorrows bind us together.
Knowing this, give of your heart
any chance you can get.
Your intention to alleviate
the world’s suffering
will be reflected in the way
you open your eyes,
take a deep breath
and send lovingkindness
to everyone around you.
Wonder no longer
how you can save the world.
Every mindful breath
helps us all.

Natural Compassion


It happens naturally;
you don’t have to fake it
until you make it.
The compassion welling up in your heart
will take its time,
like river water carving a canyon in the rock
will take its time;
there’s no hurry.
Start with yourself
and your immediate situation,
then move on to include your loved ones,
friends and family…
the circle of compassion ever widening
slowly, over time…
It might begin to dawn on you
that all beings feel joy and pain
just like you,
that we are not so different
from one another
after all.
Little by little, day after day,
the circle widens, widens, widens.
One day your compassionate heart
will expand to include the whole
will become the whole universe.

A Tender, Open Heart


There is enough aggression
in this world, enough sadness,
enough inequality, poverty…
enough hopelessness.
Knowing this,
what can be done to promote
a healthy, happy atmosphere
for planet earth?

Lovingkindness meditation.
This is the antidote to aggression.

Start by summoning a feeling
of tenderness in your heart,
thinking of someone for whom
you feel a great deal of affection–
a child, a beloved pet, a dear friend…
sit with this feeling of tenderness,
of softness,
sit with this earnest desire
for the wellbeing of this beloved one,
and repeat
May you be happy,
May you be healthy,
May you be peaceful and at ease.

Stay with this feeling of sincerely wanting
happiness for this beloved one;
keep repeating the phrases of lovingkindness,
keep practicing.

One day, you might be able to repeat the phrases
with sincerity
for those with whom you experience challenge.
It is here, in this place of disagreeing with someone
yet nevertheless wishing true happiness
for them
that the aggression melts away,
and what is left behind is a tender, open heart,
raising the vibration of planet Earth
with lovingkindness.

The Four Limitless Qualities


The four limitless qualities:
all exist within us,
however imperceptible they may be
at present.
The trick is to cultivate these qualities,
and discover how we serve ourselves best
when we are living in the service of others.
Out of our own heads,
knowing freedom from our own neuroses,
we can stop telling
all of the imagined stories of lack and limitation,
to come back home to this spacious present
and delight in the joy
of helping someone else to
know their own joy.