The four Brahma-Viharas are divine attitudes or sublime states of mind which are both extremely wholesome and also a tremendous support along the path of developing wisdom and insight. Lord Buddha explained that these attitudes or states of mind can be developed to the point of being truly boundless. Those who cultivate these very wholesome meditations also experience much peace and joy in due course. Metta (Loving-Kindness) is the first of the Brahma Viharas. There are many ways and methods for developing metta. Because our habitual ways of perceiving the world ourselves and others tends to be somewhat contracted and conditioned by past limitations, it is very valuable to develop meditations which both relax the habitual contraction as well as expand the capacity of the heart, regular metta meditation does this.
In this meditation we start with the practice of “Lovingly Accepting” the current state of the body and mind as it is when we come to the meditation. Having established an attitude of loving acceptance we then move onto becoming aware of the very space within which our bodies exist and our thoughts and feelings arise and cease. So often this “empty space” is simply not noticed, yet becoming more aware of it immediately helps the mind to feel less cramped and limited. Returning to suffusing the mind and body with Loving-Kindness, we then slowly train in radiating this metta outwards in all directions. In training to recognise the vastness of empty space, as well as training in and affirming one’s own extraordinary capacity to cultivate and radiate metta, it becomes possible to generate a great deal of this pure form of love and eventually to radiate it outwards boundlessly.
May we all grow in Loving-Kindness… and be supported along the Path of developing profound liberating wisdom.
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