by Bhante Mahinda
In Part One of this article we discussed how disease and imbalance occurs on all levels of our being: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. In Part Two, we will discuss how metta promotes healing on all these levels.
Metta is the wish to be well and happy, and this wish encompasses all aspects of our being: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Therefore, metta is naturally related to healing, both for ourselves and for others.
When we have love and compassion for ourselves, it is natural that we will look after our body through balanced diet and exercise. When we fall sick, we will take care of ourselves to the best of our ability.
Next time you are sick, or have any aches or pains, try radiating metta to yourself and allowing the feeling of wellbeing to spread throughout your body, especially to all the affected parts. As you start to relax, you may notice that a significant part of the pain is actually caused by our own resistance to it, not wanting to experience that unpleasant sensation. Approaching our pain and discomfort with loving-kindness reduces this extra stress that we cause ourselves by reacting to the original painful feeling. In this way, the pain will start to reduce and our circulation and energy will begin to flow better, giving our body the best chance to heal itself and even release the root cause of the problem.
To do this effectively it is important that we build up our metta practice now, when we are not sick (or are less sick). At the beginning of your daily practice, when you radiate metta towards yourself, feel that loving-kindness is radiating to all the cells, tissues and organs of your body, that they may be well, happy and healthy. In this way you will build up the positive energies to promote physical health. If we are one day confronted with great pain and suffering, it may be difficult to arouse positive thoughts of loving-kindness unless we have already cultivated metta to a certain level. That is why sustained metta practice is essential, especially for healing more complex problems involving our emotional, mental and spiritual blockages.
The practice of metta helps to stabilise our emotions, promote positive emotions, and to clear emotional blockages through forgiveness. Much of our ‘dis-ease’ is due to anger, hatred, grudges and the inability to forgive ourselves and others. When we practise metta, we learn to forgive others, to forgive ourselves and to seek forgiveness for whatever harm we may have caused.
Metta also encourages healthy mental attitudes. Our negative emotions are conditioned by the tendencies of grasping, aversion and delusion, created as a result of our inability to understand the true nature of life. When our hearts open and our understanding grows, we will be able to see the world around us more clearly, reducing these negative habitual tendencies. That is why thoughts of loving-kindness are considered an ingredient of wisdom.
On a spiritual level, metta will enable us to connect more: to our own hearts, so we will be able to see our true aspirations and purpose in life; and also to connect with higher spiritual beings (such as healing devas/angels etc), and receive their guidance, blessing and protection. The practice of loving-kindness thus has a vital role to play, both in healing, and preventing, disease and imbalance.
Generating metta also promotes healing and harmony amongst those around us. As we are all beings of energy (see Part One), when we radiate metta towards others, our coherent energy fields resonate. That is why our thoughts of love and compassion can impact others, especially those with whom we have close connection, such as our loved ones. When practised together with others (via Metta Circles, for example) this collective energy has even greater potential to transmute negative energies, negative thoughts and negative entities on a wider scale, into light, love and harmony. That is the advantage of group meditation, chanting and prayer.
We see ‘dis-ease’ manifesting everywhere, on various levels within ourselves and in the world around us. To heal ourselves and heal the world, it is essential to develop more and more loving-kindness, and to come together to harness the power of our collective metta for the welfare and happiness of the many.
If you’ve missed out on Part One, click here for the article