Lovingkindness [metta]

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Metta: an antidote to fear

It's said the Buddha taught metta practice as an antidote to fear, so if we tend to make our home in fear and we do this practice, we will start to make our home in lovingkindness, in a sense of connection and care.

As the story goes, the Buddha first taught the metta meditation as a way of surmounting terrible fear when it arises.

The inner meaning of the story is that a mind filled with fear can still be penetrated by the quality of lovingkindness. Moreover, a mind that is saturated by lovingkindness cannot be overcome by fear; even if fear should arise, it will not overpower such a mind.


Reflect on your fears — what you fear, when fears arise. Then consider how the quality of lovingkindness might affect those fears.

Do you see and recognize others in the way you yourself wish to be seen, in the ways you appreciate being recognized? If not, why?


Not a “feeling”

Although we will often slip into using the word “feeling” it’s important to understand that metta is something very different than that. Metta is something very different than a feeling that can be categorized or quantified and measured. As long as we think of it as a feeling, we are liable to judge ourselves—perhaps mercilessly—for not feeling the right thing. Metta is something much deeper and much more subtle. It has to do with the power of vision, view, how we see ourselves, how we see life and it has to do with the power of intention in the mind.