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Metta Meditation Month Begins! Join us for 30 Days of Lovingkindness

IDP's month-long Metta Meditation Marathon begins today.   Ethan* and I came up with the idea in June, as a way for our community to connect with each other during August, a time when many are traveling and on vacation.   For 30 days, we'll be doing daily lovingkindness meditation from wherever we might be, making a commitment both to our personal practice and to our collective participation on the path.  

I'm extremely fortunate to have learned Metta meditation from possibly the greatest expert in this type of contemplative technique, Sharon Salzberg*, when two years ago, I spent a week practicing Metta at a silent retreat with her at IMS.   After a few days of practice, I could feel my center of awareness drop to my heart-center, and after a week  recognized a sense of brightness or presence that accompanied an unexpected, yet familiar, clarity.  I could perceive my thoughts, including the Metta phrases, were just dust motes against a vast, silent, awareness.  

But even after that experience, I wondered if compassion practices such as Metta, Tonglen, and Tara sadhanas were somehow lesser than other styles of meditation, especially Mahamudra and Awareness techniques.  I thought maybe the latter types of meditation were more intellectual and advanced, and that, as a "serious Buddhist" my efforts should focus on these trainings.  I studied with a Zen teacher for a while, and began to feel more and more in my head and less and less connected to my body and other beings.   Then I went on retreat with Larry Rosenberg, (who teaches formless awareness meditation), and he encouraged us over and over again to determine for ourselves what we should do.  He asked us to stop looking to teachers for answers and to trust our own wisdom and experience that arises from contemplative practice.   Finally, I had an intuitive understanding and acceptance that my meditation will focus on Metta and Tara, and though I will continue to learn from teachers in many lineages, I'm devoting myself to these practices.   The Tibetan Lojong slogan for this is "Of the Two Witnesses, Hold the Principal One", which CTR explains as,


"The practice of this slogan is always be true to yourself. You know best about yourself, so you should work with yourself constantly. This is based on trusting your intelligence rather than trusting yourself, which could be very selfish. It is trusting your intelligence by knowing who you are and what you are . . . You just witness what you are."




Below are several sources of instruction for doing Metta, and we invite you to write about your experiences this month on our Journals and via Facebook and Twitter.  You can also email me with comments or questions at [email protected].

Guided Audio Meditation by Sharon Salzberg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3uLqt69VyI
Written Instructions: http://www.beliefnet.com/Health/2000/07/Opening-The-Heart.aspx
Get Sharon's book:  Lovingkindness

*Ethan and Sharon are currently teaching an online-only series exclusively for IDP,  "Back to Basics, The Eightfold Path of Awakening".  Registration is still open!




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Metta is brand new to me so

Metta is brand new to me so this is great support to my practise. Thanks!

*wearing my oh, so soft, idp metta tee...


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