Learning the second stage

flowerAs before, we suggest spending a few days getting used to doing both the first and second stages of the Metta Bhavana practice.

Lovingkindness means having your own, and others’, best interests at heart. While we often want to rush ahead when learning a new skill, our long-term benefit lies in methodically working through the process step by step, giving ourselves time to assimilate what we’re learning.

We’re not being kind to ourselves when we rush ahead and try to assimilate skills and information at a faster pace than is helpful. So it’s an act of lovingkindness to slow down and to give yourself time to explore this stage of the practice. It feels temporarily satisfying to plow heedlessly into the practice, but in the long term it leads to frustration or disappointment. On the other hand it may be temporarily frustrating to take things slowly — and yet in the long term it beings greater satisfaction and joy.

It’s very valuable indeed to spend time consolidating the skills that you’re learning here (at least I hope you’re practicing these meditations and not just reading about them).

Simply reading about meditation is like reading about how to swim. You can study every book on swimming technique that’s ever been written — you could learn them by heart — and you’d find that it meant nothing when you first got in the water!

So we suggest exploring the links in this section before you move on to stage three.

You might also want to reread the sections on Ways of Cultivating Metta.

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