The practice of Metta [lovingkindness] is, at a certain level, the fruition of all we work toward in our meditation.
It relies on our ability to open continuously to the truth of our actual experience, not cutting off the painful parts, and not trying to pretend things are other than they are.
Just as spiritual growth grinds to a halt when we indulge our tendency to grasp and cling, Metta can’t thrive in an environment that is bound to desire or to getting our expectations met. ~ Sharon Salzberg/Joseph Goldstein
One of the keys is knowing we can titrate the experience… we can feel empowered to move our attention to something easier to be with, like listening to sounds, or a relaxed, easy place in the body. Or opening our eyes. Or lovingkindness for ourselves. It’s an experiment. We’re looking for a sense of balance in relationship to our experience, not for a breakthrough. Of course, we’d all love a breakthrough, to be able to say “At noon I finally loved myself completely,” or “This afternoon I vanquished that pattern of fear.” But the reality of our work is that it is based on the idea that healing comes from balance, insight comes from balance. So even as you are resuming a meditation practice, know that within any one session, it is fine (and indeed appropriate) to keep remembering balance—to feel free to shift your focus, to be kind to yourself. ~ Sharon Salzburg, Real Happiness
As meditation moves us toward wholeness, we discover a strong center, an inner store of mental and emotional strength that was once lost to us. Many people who practice concentration to steady their attention use the same word to describe the feeling it gives them: empowered. Once we have a sense of a center, we can more easily withstand an onslaught on overstimulation, uncertainty, and anxiety the world launches at us without getting overwhelmed. We’re stronger because we not only see more but also see more clearly. When your attention is diffused, it’s like a broad, weak beam of light that doesn’t reveal much. Concentration brings the weak beam down to a single, sharply focused, supremely bright, exponentially more illuminating point. ~ Sharon Salzburg, Real Happiness
Sharon Salzburg has a 28 Day Meditation Challenge …starting in February
Words regarding this event:
‘For the month of February, we have invited a diverse group of people to participate in the meditation program that Sharon Salzberg has laid out in her latest book, Real Happiness. We are asking them to reflect on their experiences—pleasant, difficult, and in between—and let us know how it’s going. They will be blogging and tweeting about their experiences. We will post all of the feedback we receive here on Sharon’s website.’
Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzburg