Posts tagged #Ken McLeod

9 links that make life more awesome

Wherein I scour the interweb for greatness, so you don't have to.

1. Imagine yourself as enlightened.  It's okay, go ahead. There's full instruction on how to do it in this wise update on traditional Tibetan deity practice for the modern westerner by the very wonderful Ken McLeod that I'm now totally obsessed with.

2.  Which afflictive emotion dominates you? Is it anger, pride, desire? Whatever it may be, there's a Buddha family for that - a collection of awakened beings who deal with that affliction and lead to its healing.  It's fun to learn about what Buddha family you belong to - it's like the best personality assessment ever.

3. Sara Whittemore over at Cosmic Outlaw is blowing my mind. The 26 things she's learned in her 26 years on earth are rich and edifying.

4. Are you a fierce gentleman? If so, Andrew Long over at the Love and Freedom Project has some very useful things to tell you.

5. I only like visionary art. Good thing I know folks like Pierce Marratto of Touchfaster, who makes stirring images like the one below.

 

6.  What would I ever do without tracks from DJ James Gyre?  The one below, with its exciting cut-up style, reminds me of Girl Talk... but you know, better.

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/19660229" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

7. Rhiannon Llewellyn offers inspiring holistic business insight over at the Love and Money Revolution radio show.

8. The Buddha Brats, Adamas and Anreal, offer some astounding and unconventional insights on the diamond vehicle path, which I'm lapping righ tup.

9. Diana Dyer thinks and writes a lot about kale. 365 days of it, in fact. Which makes her way rad in my kale-loving heart.

 

How to use metta to both disarm your internal meanness and also to get drunk

The funny thing about metta practice is that in attempting to radiate boundless goodwill, I discover just how much ill-will I've got in my heart.

It's a lot.

I can have barriers of ill-will built up against even my dearest friends - and not know it unless I deliberately try sending them metta!

These aren't giant resentments – I tend to be aware of those – but they are places where my heart has unwittingly contracted and shrunk because  my ego took offense to something my friend casually said.

Metta vs. Your Internal Meanness

Similarly, in giving metta to myself, I begin to gain insight into just how much of my usual internal monologue (filled with worries, self-criticisms, doubts – all the tastiest delicacies of self-involved neurosis) is actually motivated by ill-will towards yours truly.

Here's how this works: I'm sitting still, earnestly wishing "May I be happy" - not "May I get filthy rich so I can be happy" or "May I be transcendently perfect so I can be happy" - but just, you know - happy. With no conditions attached.  Just wishing this for myself starts to make me feel happy - and then I hear the thoughts that are like, "Oh, but Carolyn, you did this and this awful thing, you really don't deserve to feel happy..." or "You're almost 29 and practically penniless. How can you have any self-respect? Really, you're pathetic....."  and it becomes very obvious: those thoughts do not wish me to be happy.  They wish me to feel bad.  They lack metta. They're the voice of what my friend Andy has always called "Mean Carolyn," my inner relentless critic.

Mean Carolyn sucks.

Luckily, in the work of cultivation, I can quiet her down.  I just need to send my good wishes to myself louder than those harsh thoughts. "Doesn't matter what I did or what I lack! - may I be happy, goddamnit!"  And then – oddly enough – my smile broadens and my cheeks glow. The feeling of happiness continues and gets stronger.

The Hard Liquor of Benevolence

That's the other weird thing about metta practice - you discover just how much joy there is in the act of making positive wishes. It wouldn't seem that those little namby-pambly phrases of niceness ("May you be happy, May you be well, May you be free from suffering....") and the act of visualizing yourself and others in states of happiness would pack such a giddy punch - but after awhile it certainly does.

I've found that it's entirely possible to get drunk on good wishes.  And I mean tipsy, loopy, kissing-strangers-can't-stop-singing-show-tunes drunk. It's rad. And the neat thing is, there's no hang-over. Also, it's free.

I think this propensity for giddy drunkenness to arise is one of the reasons why teachers like Ken McLeod in his in-depth teaching on the four immeasurables recommend balancing loving-kindness meditation with compassion cultivation.  Because unless you're actively sensitizing yourself to the suffering of others, you might get so happy with your loving-kindness that you drunkenly overlook that suffering and become boorish.

Fascinating, yes?

So what's your experience with metta like so far?

 

image: [mnen]