What’s meant to happen in stage two?
In the second stage of the meditation practice we’re strengthening the metta we already feel for our friend.
The word metta is from a language called Pali, and in Pali the word metta is closely related to the word for friend, or mitta. A mitta is a friend, and metta is friendliness. A mitta is someone that you have metta for. (Mittata is friendship, but that’s something different).
It’s important to remember that metta is something you do already experience. It’s not some new emotion that you’ve never felt before and that will only appear when you attain some distant mystical heights of attainment in your meditation practice. Metta is part of everyday life. What we’re developing, or strengthening, in this stage of the meditation is the metta that we already experience towards our friends.
We experience this metta in ordinary life by being considerate to our friends, by wanting them to be happy, by putting ourselves out to make them feel more at ease.
We experience metta in ordinary life when we’re rooting for our friends, when we’re happy at their good fortune, and when we’re upset because bad things happen to them.
This stage of the meditation practice deepens our friendships. Since our friendships with others are one of the factors that most contributes to our health and happiness, the second stage is a major step towards physical and emotional well-being.