Two weeks ago I started attending a meditation group. It’s facilitated by a Buddhist teacher and each week, he opens new pathways to connect our outer self with our inner self.
I suck at meditation. The great thing about mindful meditation: No judgment. So, according to said principle, I don’t suck at meditation. Meditation is like A.D.D. hell. Sit still for 30 minutes and concentrate on breathing.
Breath 1, breath 2, air conditioner, cold, jacket, hot chocolate, chocolate ice cream, hungry.
That’s my brain on meditation. If I’m tired, hungry, or just plain bitchy, concentration is as fleeting as my interest in sitting idly.
Last Saturday I was having a particularly difficult time staying focused. I was distracted by some other circumstances: 1) Poor sleep 2) My husband was awaiting a massage by some tart after a 3 week labor intensive business trip 3) I can’t focus on ANYTHING when I’m tired and I know someone other than me is going to have their hands on my man. Note to self: Study deep tissue massage therapy skills and grow some damn muscles. After the standard 30 minute meditation, the group discussed our ability or inability to maintain awareness.
Then something magical happened. The facilitator introduced Metta Meditation. It’s a loving-kindness or compassion meditative practice. It works like ripples in a pond. You begin with yourself. You show compassion towards yourself, then to your family, then your friends, neutral people, and even people you don’t like. You repeat a phrase in your mind over and over, beginning with yourself and then expanding.
The phrase we were given: “May I be well, happy, and peaceful.” We recite the phrase 4 or 5 times and then move on…
“May my family be well, happy, and peaceful.”
“May my friends be well, happy, and peaceful.”
“May neutral people be well, happy, and peaceful.”
“May [person/people I don’t like] be well, happy, and peaceful.”
I did fine until I got to the last phrase. When I visually imagined the difficult person in my life, I actually made a face of disgust. To say it takes energy to wish a malicious bastard wellness, happiness, and peace is an understatement. But I needed to do it. I think the action was proactive and positive and removed some of the weight hanging around my neck. It’s the closest I think I’ll ever get to loving my enemies. I hope that by repeating this phrase, I’ll become a catalyst for change in my own heart and in the hearts and minds of others.
After the session, I was driving home and was cut off by a rude driver in a very large SUV. I had to stop my car to keep from hitting road barrels. I flipped the driver off then laughed and shouted, “May the shitty driver be well, happy, and peaceful!”
Hey, it’s a start.