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Generating metta for myself

nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

After seeing some of @Jayantha 's posts, I decided to return to metta bhavana practice after a year or two of absence, and have noticed that I'm having an easier time generating metta for others than for myself. It's possible, but it's a bit of a stuggle to generate and maintain. Should I strictly focus on metta for myself, or continue to generate it for others?

David

Comments

  • I would do what works, it's all metta.

    lobsternakazcidmmoDavid
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @nakazcid said:
    Should I strictly focus on metta for myself, or continue to generate it for others?

    Basically you should send me extra metta as I have greater needs :3

    Here to help o:)

    nakazcidDavidroots
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited July 2015

    @nakazcid said:
    After seeing some of Jayantha 's posts, I decided to return to metta bhavana practice after a year or two of absence, and have noticed that I'm having an easier time generating metta for others than for myself. It's possible, but it's a bit of a stuggle to generate and maintain. Should I strictly focus on metta for myself, or continue to generate it for others?

    Why choose?

    Generating Metta for yourself surely ends up helping us all in the long run.

    If you can think of one person that could use your help when you are at your best then generate Metta for yourself for them.

    If you can't think of anyone (some people think they are no use) then do it for me and the rest of this here sangha.

    lobsterroots
  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran
    edited July 2015

    @ourself said:
    Why choose?

    Perhaps I should have expanded on this a bit more. Some sources have suggested that it is necessary to have metta for oneself before casting a wider net to other sentient beings. I was trying to see if others here felt the same way.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited July 2015

    @nakazcid said:
    Perhaps I should have expanded on this a bit more. Some sources have suggested that it is necessary to have metta for oneself before casting a wider net to other sentient beings. I was trying to see if others here felt the same way.

    I used to think that but I have since found the logic flawed. It is well meaning but still perpetuates the myth of us vs. "them".

    There is nothing that will make you really appreciate your own self worth more than the art of helping the perceived "other".

    It's all stages and degrees imho.

    VastmindlobsterToshShoshin
  • rootsroots Veteran
    edited July 2015

    @nakazcid said:
    Perhaps I should have expanded on this a bit more. Some sources have suggested that >it is necessary to have metta for oneself before casting a wider net to other sentient >beings. I was trying to see if others here felt the same way.

    I agree with the metta self before metta others.

    When I was more new to practice then I am now, I attempted to have compassion for the whole bloody world at the end of one meditation as suggested by a sutra. The probz was I was self-hating a whole lot. It's hard to send out the peacy lovey vibes when you suffering internally.

    My teacher was like um, well kid, you need to be 'SELF-CENTRED!'

    I was like "whaaa!? O.o That's not cool. We should think of others first, develop our prayer and compassion towards others- but me? Focus on my needs, exclusively my needs, and focus only on the things that I need to do to make myself happy!? That's sooh not compassionitty. I've read a bit on this, and generally self-centred is perceived as counter-productive."

    I needed to trace back some childhood events and get in touch with myself, my karma, and develop my interpersonal connection with the Buddah. Getting into the trenches of my own behaviour was the pathway. I had developed a propensity of pleasing others to gain their approval in order to feel safe in interpersonal situations - AND I was confusing that compulsion to please others as compassion for others. I also ignored my own needs, because I thought I was unworthy.

    By tracing the hurt to the source, accepting my feelings, grieving, healing, and gaining greater self worth - then putting MY NEEDS FIRST (self-centred =) ) I was learning to love myself - and have REAL compassion for myself. I think that's kinda like generating self-metta.

    @ourself
    I used to think that but I have since found the logic flawed. It is well meaning but still >perpetuates the myth of us vs. "them".

    There is nothing that will make you really appreciate your own self worth more than the >art of helping the perceived "other".

    It's all stages and degrees imho.

    I dig the logic, however as that I am a beginner, MY inner child still has some things to learn, and correspondingly -

    My nephew celebrates his fourth birthday next week, and good luck getting him on the "compassion for all" boat. I'm just trying to teach him "you're not a bad boy, you just make mistakes like we all do." Alternatively, I ask him if I love him because he plays cooperatively or if I love him because he is handsome, or if I love him because he is batman. He knows to respond "No uncle, you love me because I'm me!"

    Developing a positive self image as a child relates to how you see yourself as an adult. If there is enough negative influence along the way, one might harbour that pain later in life. In my practice, it's that influence and resulting pain that causes inner conflict - AND further, conflict in interpersonal relationships. We feel "hurt" when our loved ones are unable to fill the hole of an internal wound that we have carried with us through the years. These wounds can be addressed by our practice through compassion, where we discover we can give ourselves all the love we will ever need, as we walk the path to where all of that love originally comes from.

    Inversely, I wonder if we can really develop metta for others if we haven't developed it for/in ourselves. If we haven't reached a greater level of unattached self love and self compassion, how can we comprehend developing love and compassion for others? How strong is our universal metta if our personal metta is lacking?

    Yes, 'self' is an illusion, but its these frail bodies and lacklustre minds from which we observe our ability to generate metta and make the decision to do so. I can tell myself I know what peanut butter is, but if I don't know how to spread it on my own sandwich, how am I going to take it to the next level and make a PB and J for my nephew and the rest of the universe?

    lobsterDavid
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    @nakazcid said:
    Perhaps I should have expanded on this a bit more. Some sources have suggested that it is necessary to have metta for oneself before casting a wider net to other sentient beings. I was trying to see if others here felt the same way.

    It might be a bit like the old adagio "you can't love others if you can't love yourself," I guess.
    Practice -in general, not metta in particular- is supposed to begin with yourself.
    When you realize that we all sentient beings "inter-are," to use a Thay notion, you see that whatever good you generate for yourself, impacts on everyone else's good and viceversa.
    It usually begins with yourself because we human beings tend to care for our personal happiness first, and then through empathy, reach out to others.

    rootslobsterDavid
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    My teacher was like um, well kid, you need to be 'SELF-CENTRED!'

    Good post.
    Being centered in our self, which is the small wheel, first wheel, (Hinayana is not a dirty word, but it can be unkind) is the basis of our progress into the expanse of being.

    The value of a teacher is in being part psychologist for the wounded, immature and cructacean. The value of a sangha is sharing insights and perspectives from different spokes of the wheel ...
    The eventual outcome is more metta. Is that a plan or what? <3

  • rootsroots Veteran

    @lobster said:
    The eventual outcome is more metta. Is that a plan or what? <3

    Thank you :waving: more metta for everybody!

    Yea. My teacher is essential.

    Most of my statements start with "When I was a boy..." lol. That's because I was very young when I took on the belief that I was alone. My teacher is like my psychologist, my yogi, and my grandma. She helped me realise that anger is just a messenger, and all of my sufferings are just pathways to their release via the dharma.

    I have yet to involve myself in a formal group practice. I guess this messageboard is my first introduction, and I certainly see the benefit of direct communication with people that share my beliefs. Actually that's an understatement. I'm very grateful.

    I have many close friends that I have trusted with absolutely every part of myself. I have no secrets, and I have faced many of my primary fears and demons (although always working of course :) ).

    However, my support group lacks anyone that I can communicate with on these matters. I can talk to them about it, they will understand the concepts, but you know - I can imagine how great it would be to talk with someone (other then my teacher) that was just as jived about Buddhist practice as I am.

    Maybe its time to venture forth.

    DavidWalkerlobster
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