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Metta on the go: 6 simple ways to take lovingkindness off the cushion (Day 17)

Lotus, isolated on whiteWhat a wonderful feeling – you’re in your favorite meditation pose generating loving-kindness, starting with yourself and gradually turning to the world. A feeling of connection to your loved ones, your sangha, and to all sentient beings fills you with bliss.

The metta bhavana is a powerful meditation. It opens the heart and engenders feelings of love and openness.

But what about when you’re off the cushion . . . like when you’re late for work in that long line for coffee? Or when you’re stuck in traffic and just want to get home? Is the loving-kindness still radiating from within you?

Below are 6 simple ways to weave that loving feeling through everyday experiences. Until they become habitual, you might want to use Post It notes as reminders. Over time, you’ll find that metta is better than ever when it’s on the go.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall
When: when you look in a mirror
What: look yourself in the eye and say, “May you be happy. May you be healthy.”

Joy to the World
When: when you blow dry your hair
What: imagine the blow dryer as a large prayer wheel of sorts blowing out blessings. Say, “May all beings be happy. May all beings be safe from harm.”

Who is Your Mother?
When: when you’re standing in a line (especially if you’re in a hurry)
What: look at the cashier and think ‘who is your mother?’ Imagine his or her mother, that she may be alive or not. Imagine their relationship, good one or bad. Wish this anonymous mother well. Wish the cashier well. “May you both be at peace. May you both be healthy.”

Stop Drop and Roll
When: when stopped at a red light
What: ‘Stop’ the car, ‘drop’ down into your heart and ‘roll’ out some goodwill to your fellow travelers. Look at the people in other cars in front of you, behind you, passing you, and recognize that each one of them is just like you – they want happiness and they want to be free from suffering. Say, “May you know happiness. May you be safe.”

Bless Us Everyone
When: when you see or hear an emergency vehicle
What: wish those involved well — including the victims, their loved ones, the first responders, and associated medical or legal professionals. Say “May you be surrounded with love. May you be supported.”

Newspaper Clippings
When: when reading, watching or listening to the news
What: As you learn of distressing news, take a moment to send the people involved some peaceful wishes. Say, “I wish you peace. May you be safe from harm.”

Both on and off the cushion, the metta bhavana practice will keep your heart open, flexible, and radiant.

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About Ashley Davis Bush

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Ashley has been a licensed psychotherapist and grief counselor in private practice for over 20 years. Author of Transcending Loss, Claim Your Inner Grown-up Shortcuts to Inner Peace, and the forthcoming 75 Habits for a Happy Marriage, Ashley believes that we grow through every experience in our lives and that each of us has access to a place of inner peace and wisdom.

Ashley earned a graduate degree in Social Work from Columbia University and a certificate in Contemplative Studies through Smith College School for Social Work. She currently lives, works and writes in Epping, NH with her husband, Daniel, and their five children.

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Comments

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Comment from Sam
Time: April 28, 2013, 7:23 am

These are wonderful suggestions of how to bring loving-kindness into our day to day interactions. May you be well and may you be happy for sharing them!

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Comment from ajay
Time: April 28, 2013, 12:07 pm

Hey, those are beautiful words. Full of intense and practical value. I intent to put them in practice. Bless U and all those from Team Wildmind who are spreading the loving way of living.

Ajay

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Pingback from Mid-Week Balance: 1 May 2013
Time: May 1, 2013, 12:22 pm

[...] into your day.  I think you will find that this gratitude practice has a lot in common with the “on the go” suggestions for applying metta bhavana (lovingkindness) that are offered in the Wildmind 100 Days of [...]

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