Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Best Thing We Can Do

 Until I decide I won't, I am penning, these blog posts in support of my ongoing sacred journey course,“Creating a Life of Contentment,"  which began Sept. 15. For one entire year, we'll be traveling together as intimate companions: to relax, let go and rest into Love; to discover the bliss of our own life. I hope you will join me here! You can learn more about the program here.

The Best Thing We Can Do

When you have a tough day ...

when more than your share of things go wrong ...

when you hear the voices of discouragement sing a song of weariness in your mind ...

What is the very best thing to do?

For me, it is leaning into Metta and letting it fill my heart.

Metta, the Buddhist practice of “unconditional friendliness”—or “loving-kindness”—is the kindest and wisest response to my own unrest.

Saying four simple phrases of blessing to ourself:

May I feel safe.

May I feel healthy and strong.

May I feel happy.

May I feel peaceful and at ease ...

... may begin to melt away the tensions of the day and create feelings of calm, especially around those things that appeared to steal our Contentment.

Sometimes Contentment is fragile and tenuous. It has not put down deep enough roots within us yet. So when winds of difficulty blow, we are easily moved off center. Instead of clawing for Contentment, however, we can ease back into it, gently welcoming it in by using Metta phrases.

The Buddha taught: “Life is so very difficult. How can we be anything but kind?” He also taught that using Metta phrases for ourselves (and for others) softens the suffering of daily life.

I know it does for me.

Today, if life feels difficult, if you are in need of finding your calm center again, let a little Metta in.

The unconditional friendliness of Contentment will soon be yours ...


*These 4 phrases are the ones that I personally use in my Metta practice. They are adapted from the classic phrases used in the Vipassana tradition which are:

May I be happy.
May I be well.
May I be safe.
May I live with ease.

If you are not familiar with Metta Meditation, here are two wonderful resources:

The first, a short video featuring my teacher and friend, Sylvia Boorstein, teaching Metta.

And a wonderful article on the practice by Sharon Salzberg:


aletalane said...


Thank you for these words. They touch my heart. I am at a time of deep, deep unrest in my heart. Nights are full of worry, tears and pain. Last night I couldn't sleep, and was worrying about money. I decided I needed to replace the thought, so I tried focusing on the presence of my partner's breathing, as well as holding compassion for myself and my worries. It kind of worked- I felt a little 'cooler', but the worries kept coming back.

I have been trying to calm my anxious mind for a while now (months? years?) and most of the time it seems to no avail. But, I have to keep working on it....

Thanks for this lovely blog, it has given me much to think about

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this reminder. I love the sentence "Instead of clawing for Contentment, however, we can ease back into it, gently welcoming it in by using Metta phrases." That phrase 'clawing for contenment' really struck a chord, I can feel how I lapse into that sometimes. And focusing on metta, both self- and other- love/compassion/kindness changes everything. We don't have to claw for something that is right there, just open and allow. XOXO - Lisa

Janice Lynne Lundy said...

Dear Aletalane, I am so glad these words helped. The practice of metta is so very powerful when we are distressed or anxious. I actually found metta myself when I was experiencing major anxiety (enough to be medicated), life feeling so stressful, but I chose a holistic path instead and adopted metta as my primary form of meditation. I believe it has saved my life ... with all clarity and without exaggeration I can say that.

I hope you will pursue trying it and following the resources I laid out here. There are many more. Blessings to you!

p.s. Your insight to follow your partner's breathing was great. Breath is a profound pathway for creating inner calm...

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

Lovely, loving Metta. Although I wsa aware of it for some time, it was through you, Jan, that I really learned to embrace the practice. Thank you very deeply in my heart for that gift. Gassho!

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Day after day
night until dawn
these words are
repeated constantly...

Cindy Hively said...

Jan and friends. What a beautiful reminder of Metta. As I listened and watched Sylvia, I thought back to when I first learned Metta. I also compared Metta to my journey at this present moment. As I sat with the then vs the now I realized how much I have grown in self-compassion for me and all beings. Metta has been a practice I do everyay, several times a day. It opens our heart to so many possibilities!

Jan Lundy said...

Rose, I am glad for you and for Metta. xo

One Woman, I am so glad you too practice this beautiful art of blessing. It is so powerful!

Cindy, and you too lovely friend. How fortunate we are to have come upon such wise teachers who guide us deeper into the truth ("the dharma")

Hugs to all of you!

May we continue to metta-fy our lives and one another.