MERI Center Blog

Judy's Resilience Tips: Metta Phrases

Judy Long's Resilience Tip from April 15, 2020: Metta Phrases

Metta for Caregivers
(from Joan Halifax, Being with Dying teachers’ manual)

The emphasis in these practices is on balance—the balance between opening one’s heart endlessly, and accepting the limits of what one can do. The balance between compassion and equanimity. Compassion is the trembling or the quivering of the heart in response to suffering. Equanimity is a spacious stillness that can accept things as they are. The balance of compassion and equanimity allow us to care, and yet not get overwhelmed and unable to cope because of that caring.

The phrases we use reflect this balance. Choose some phrases that are personally meaningful to you. You can alter them in any way, or use one that you have created out of your unique personal significance.

To begin the practice, take as comfortable a position as possible, sitting or lying down. Take a few deep soft breaths to let your body settle. Bring your attention to your breath, and begin to silently say your chosen phrases in rhythm with the breath…you can also experiment with just having your attention settle in the phrases, without using the anchor of the breath. Feel the meaning of what you are saying, yet without trying to force anything…let the practice carry you along.

May I offer my care and presence unconditionally, knowing it may be met by gratitude, indifference, anger or anguish.

May I find the inner resources to truly be able to give

May I offer love, knowing I cannot control the course of life, suffering or death May I remain in peace, and let go of expectations  I care about your pain, yet cannot control it

I wish you happiness and peace, but I cannot make your choices for you

May this experience be a heavenly messenger for me, helping me open to the true nature of life

May I see my limits compassionately, just as I view the suffering of others

May I, and all beings, live and die in ease

Metta Practice for the Sick and Dying
(from Joan Halifax, Being with Dying course manual)

All our lives our innate wisdom tells us to let go, to relax, to relinquish unwise efforts to control.  Our culture, conditioning, and personal history usually tell us to hold on, to attempt to cling to people, experiences and accomplishments in order to be happy. Many time our lives are spent in a battle between our innate wisdom and the culture’s message about clinging and control.  Dying is above all, the time to turn to, trust and rest in the voice of truth within us.

Take a comfortable position. Bring your attention to your breath, if you can. Feel the meaning of what you are saying, yet without trying to force anything..let the practice carry you along.

May I accept my pain, without thinkint it makes me bad or wrong

May I remember my consciousness is much vaster than this body, as I let go of this body

If I have hurt or harmed anyone, intentionally or unintentionally, I ask their forgiveness.  If anyone has hurt or harmed me, intentionally or unintentionally, I freely forgive them.  Finally, I forgive myself for mistakes made, or things left undone

May all those I leave behind be safe, be happy, be peaceful

May all beings everywhere be safe, be happy, be peaceful

May my love for myself and others flow boundlessly

May the power of loving kindness sustain me

May I open to the unknown, as I leave behind the known, like a bird flying freely

May I accept my anger, fear and sadness, knowing that my vast heart is not limited by them

May I be free of danger, may I be peaceful

May I be peaceful and happy, at ease in body and mind

May I be free from anger, fear and worry

May I live and die in ease