Stage 1 – Cultivating metta toward yourself
“Friendship with ones self is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”
Roosevelt expresses a psychological truth that the Buddhist tradition has espoused for two and a half millennia — that our attitude towards ourself conditions our attitude towards others. It’s for that reason that in the development of lovingkindness meditation practice we begin by cultivating metta first for ourselves.
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”
– His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Once you’ve read them what will follow will make a lot more sense.
You can listen to an MP3 guided meditation that will lead you through this stage of the practice by clicking on the player below:
In the first stage of the practice, set up your posture and deepen your awareness of your body.
Then become aware of how you are feeling. What emotions are present? You don’t necessarily have to label them, just be aware they are there.
These emotions will be your focus during the practice. Keep your attention focused on your emotions throughout the practice. If you get distracted, come back to your body, and then to your emotions.
To work with your emotions, use a word or phrase, or a memory, or your imagination. As you work with your particular method, be aware of what effect it is having on your emotions, which are your focus.