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Reb Moshe's Metta Practice

Within traditional Eastern meditation, one encounters a concentration exercise that is called a “Metta practice.” The Pali word “Metta” is broad, lovely term which encompasses notions of loving-kindness, friendliness, goodwill, benevolence, fellowship, amity, concord, inoffensiveness and non-violence. The Pali commentators define “metta” as “a strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others” (parahita-parasukha-kamana). This practice has been transformed at TBZ into a vehicle to open the heart to ourselves, to those we love, and to those with whom we may have less than a cordial relationship. The foundation of this practice is repetition of four phrases, which are first directed — we know, too often with difficulty — toward oneself:

1.  May I be blessed with Shalom (peace).
2.  May I be blessed with Simcha (joy).
3.  May I be blessed with Chesed (lovingkindness).
4.  May I be blessed with Rakhamim (compassion).

Recite these four phrases to yourself at focused, comfortable pace. Continue reciting the phrases in the first person.

When you are ready, try offering Metta to a benefactor — someone who has supported and nurtured you, who has always “been on your side” —

1.  May s/he be blessed with Shalom.
2.  May s/he be blessed with Simcha.
3.  May s/he be blessed with Chesed.
4.  May s/he be blessed with Rakhamim.

Next offer Metta to a loved one —

1.  May s/he be be blessed with Shalom.
2.  May s/he be blessed with Simcha.
3.  May s/he be blessed with Chesed.
4.  May s/he be blessed with Rakhamim.

Once your Metta flows easily to a loved one, begin to include in your practice people (or things) with whom (which) you have an ambivalent, or problematic, or general relationship —

  • A neutral person (someone whom you neither like nor dislike);
  • A difficult person, or a difficult thing — your “difficult thing” may well be an aspect or dimension of yourself; and
  • All beings, individuals, personalities and creatures.

1.  May s/he/it be blessed with Shalom.
2.  May s/he/it be blessed with Simcha.
3.  May s/he/it be blessed with Chesed.
4.  May s/he/it be blessed with Rakhamim.

Adapted, with blessings and thanks, from the Website, Integrating Psychology and Spirituality for the Relief of Personal Suffering

Wed, July 17 2019 14 Tammuz 5779