by Bhante Mahinda
One of the benefits of practising Metta is being able to sleep well. Many people today have difficulty sleeping. We need to understand that the causes for not sleeping well are due to some kind of stress – on a physical, emotional, mental and/or spiritual level.
- Are we experiencing a lot of stress, tension, worries and have a lot of thoughts in our mind?
- Are we experiencing physical imbalances that disturb our sleep? (Such as illness, aches & pains, indigestion, etc).
- If we can’t easily identify any factors affecting us physically, emotionally or mentally, it could be the influences of karma, or planetary alignments.
The practice of metta can address all these causes.
Firstly, we need to learn how to wake up happy as this will set the tone for the day ahead. When you wake up, calm and quieten your mind with a session of Metta practice and reflection. Then apply mindfulness to recall what things you need to do today. It’s a good idea to keep a notebook handy to note down all the things you need to do because a lot of stress is caused by forgetting things. Don’t rely totally on your smartphone or tablet. Always have a hard copy of important information like phone numbers, appointments (in case your electronic device crashes!). Developing the habit to be more organised will help to reduce stress.
Continue to apply metta, together with mindfulness, throughout the day. Anytime you start to feel any sort of conflict or tension, internally or externally, we must apply metta and remind ourselves, ‘Be well, be free from anger…’. Whenever you have to deal with other people, such as family, colleagues or friends, be sure to wish them well and happy. If you interact with others with a sense of mindfulness and metta, a lot of stress and conflict will be reduced.
Make time to pause frequently during whatever activities you do in your busy day. Just take a few minutes to bring your mind within, feel the calm and peace and radiate metta. Then you can return to what you are doing with a clearer mind and you will be able to see the situation from a broader perspective and have a better idea of how to proceed.
If you apply metta along with mindulness in this way throughout your day, it will reduce your overall stress and build-up of tension in your mind and body, and over time you will sleep more peacefully. It is also important to practise metta meditation for at least a few minutes before you sleep. That way you will sleep in a good state of mind, and will not be disturbed by thoughts or dreams.
On a spiritual level, the positive thoughts of loving-kindness will influence your own energy and the energy around you. Such positive vibrations will attract good beings and energies, and will transmute any negatives energies, thoughts or entities into light, love and harmony.
Therefore, with the practice of metta and mindfulness, we will be physically less stressed, emotionally less disturbed, mentally in a good state, and spiritually protected and guided. Not only will we be able to sleep well, but we will be able to spend our waking life well too.