Metta Meditation with a
Metta or loving-kindness is widely practiced form of buddhist meditation. The idea is to wish happiness and relief of all forms discomfort to oneself, to one's friends and people who are experiened to be difficult and challenging. Although some schools of buddhism say that metta only concerns wishing happiness and health to the person or people meditated upon, personally I think that the motivation of compassion is metta as well.
(Click below to listen Dzogchen Metta-Guided Practice)
Dzogchen rigpa and loving-kindness
The essence of all spirituality is nondual awareness. Dzogchen-tradition calls this awareness with the name rigpa. Rigpa is both calm and self-empty awareness but it is also imbued with life. Rigpa brims with liveliness. This liveliness is what the mind-masters of all traditions have described as love, kindness, compassion and bodhicitta.
Loving-kindness in common metta meditation practice is applied through 'silent repetitions of phrases like “may you be happy” or “may you be free from suffering” (1.)'. This is a wonderful way to break self-based bondages and to open one's heartmind.
But as noted, from the dzogchen perspective, from the perspective of rigpa as an actual experience, it already contains loving-kindness. This can be understood on a experiential level quite easily.
Us all have lived innumerable lives both in human and other forms. If we look the humanity at large, we can instantly see that people are hurting and have ill-will towards other people. This trait is deeply imprinted in our psyche. Even though (fortunately) only few of us make careers out of it, i.e. indulge in harming others, for most of us it is only momentarily. But even short moments of self-deluded violence, either as an initiator or as a target, can and does make our lives immensely difficult emotionally. Psychological tension and trauma is created which is then stored into our energy bodies, that is, minds. This is then carried from life to life, unless the traumas aren't untangled.
This is a simple example, not to even think of previous lives as conquerors, soldiers, robbers, killers and murderers that we all have been. The human kind is deeply traumatised by these actions, both karmically and from generation to generation transmission.
This is where spiritual practice, metta and recognition of the natural state comes in.
Healing of human-traumas
When we grow in the recognition of rigpa, at some point it happens that rigpa becomes a prevailing state. By this I am referring to opening the 11th bhumi as taught in Open Heart-teachings. At this point we naturally come to understand the classic texts of the ancient masters yet have no need for them, at least not because of the same reasons as before.
In my personal experience, the above mentioned stage gives a whole different spin on dharma, buddhas, guru, meditation, path, spirituality and especially on being a human being. This opening into our natural state, to our home, at least for myself, has brought up a need for healing.
Buddhas as humans
One thing the nondual meditative traditions in general do not use is physical touch as an aid for psycho-spiritual practice. Usually physical contact is discouraged, it is not thought of as something that could be useful. But it is. Physical touch and bodywork is utterly human and for this reason very beneficial.
Here's a simple technique for metta meditation with a dzogchen spin.
- If you are still having momentary glimpses of rigpa and have not yet opened your 11th bhumi, practice atiyoga for some time. Recognise the natural state and embody it by going through the embodiment sequence.
- Continue with a pair. Sit against each other with a fellow practitioner, woman or man, make physical connection by holding hands and by looking into each others eyes. Remain in the state of dzogchen/atiyoga together.
- For the practice not to become too emphasized in the ultimate aspect (two truths), move your body, arms, head and eyes every minute or so. The point is not to forget the relative condition of the bodymind but the opposite, to practice bodymind-based metta very humanly from the ultimate point of view.
- Be honest and open, don't hold back. If and when traumas come up, let them come, don't try to hide or hold them back. This is common meditation instuction.
- Sit together for at least a few minutes or longer, up to 30-60 minutes.
- Share your experiences verbally or simply smile and move on.
I feel that even though we are humans only momentarily, we can benefit of this a lot by using our human condition. This is the beauty of being a human in the first place. There is so much potential to tap.
Even though I have great limitations myself and certainly do not have the brightest of minds, I'm always interested in studying, analysing and updating the old ways of practice by digging into the root principles of our bodies, minds, heart and awareness. I hope this text is of some use and benefit to you.
Thank you for reading,
- Kim Katami, 6.12.2016