Metta Meditation: Joy to the World

The  following text from Tosha Silver’s book  “Outrageous Openness – Letting the Divine Take the Lead” illustrates how blessing may take many different forms.

“The root of your problem vanishes when you cherish others”  (Buddhist teaching),
“Om mani padme hum”  –  mantra from Chenrezig Buddha of Compassion

I love the practice of metta, the simple sending of loving kindness to yourself and others, including those who are difficult.  I’ve been planning to write about it for a while. Then yesterday, as I was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, a bird’s-egg blue van pulled in front of me decorated with pictures of the Buddha. A bonafide Metta-Mobile.

Quite the nudge.

To practice, just sit quietly and follow the breath then begin to pour out peace, love, and forgiveness, first to yourself. You bless yourself and all you may be inwardly blaming. Then you move on to those you love, to those you have trouble with, and eventually encompassing the whole world.

I also use metta in specific ways. Once I was going through some heartbreak in a relationship. So I focused the blessings on all the others in the world who were having that too. You can easily feel yourself psychically linked to everyone having the same travail, and send them love.

The whole world burst open.

Suddenly you are no longer a struggling, isolated being; you are one with humanity. And as you send blessings, you become a Divine conduit. You are immediately plunged back into God as your own abundant Source.

I needed to mail a box. The line at the post office counter was out the door, but even the one to the postage machine was endless. I could feel everyone’s agitation rising like black smoke. It was hard to not feel the same way.

Then I remembered metta. I focused on my breath, and began sending love to the frustrated part of myself trapped in post office limbo-hell. My body relaxed; I grew calm. Then I began blessing the others, pouring love, happiness and fulfillment to everyone in the line. A few moments later an unexpected shift.

The line was stalled because some foreign speakers couldn’t understand the machine. Suddenly a translator arrived and the line began moving. People started chatting and laughing with relief.

Now of course, when you use metta there’s not always such an immediate or vivid response. But if uplifts any situation. If a miracle is meant to happen, it can only pave the way.

More importantly, you never know how much someone – perhaps the tired-looking, beleaguered stranger standing right beside you – may be in desperate need of precisely what you send.


The Pali word metta is a multi-significant term meaning loving-kindness, friendliness, goodwill, benevolence, fellowship, amity, concord, inoffensiveness and non-violence. The Pali commentators define metta as the strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others (parahita-parasukha-kamana). Essentially metta is an altruistic attitude of love and friendliness as distinguished from mere amiability based on self-interest. Through metta one refuses to be offensive and renounces bitterness, resentment and animosity of every kind, developing instead a mind of friendliness, accommodativeness and benevolence which seeks the well-being and happiness of others. True metta is devoid of self-interest. It evokes within a warm-hearted feeling of fellowship, sympathy and love, which grows boundless with practice and overcomes all social, religious, racial, political and economic barriers. Metta is indeed a universal, unselfish and all-embracing love.

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