May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.
May I be safe and free from injury.
May I be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.
May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love.
May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.
May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving and delusion in myself.
May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.
May I be able to live fresh, solid and free.
May I be free from attachment and aversion, but not be indifferent.
-from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book: Plum Village Chanting and Recitation Book
metta (Pali) or maitri (Sanskrit) means the practice of loving-kindness. In the Plum Village tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh we practice metta, or loving-kindness, for ourselves, our loved ones, and our enemies or people we have difficulties with. Three simple steps. Send loving-kindness to ourselves, our loved ones, our adversaries.
We start with ourselves and then we can radiate the love outwards.
This practice is so powerful and grounding.
Try reciting these words aloud to yourself, maybe in front of a mirror. Try writing them down in your journal. I like to say them to myself before I go to sleep at night, silently, in my mind. I only have some of it memorized–mainly the first four lines. But they’re pretty powerful. I send the love to myself, my husband, my kids. And often, to extended family members, friends, co-workers, ex-boyfriends, politicians, rock-stars… you name it. Everyone needs love. When sending metta to others just exchange the word “I” for “you” and open with their name:
May you be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.
May you be safe and free from injury.
I want to memorize the words so I can say it to my children at bedtime like a prayer.
Try it. And come back and share your experience with me.
photo credit: kenley neufeld