Emotional Metta

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Coyote
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Emotional Metta

Postby Coyote » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:34 pm

I find that if I do metta meditation for a longer period of time than usual couple of minutes before the vedana-sati practice I have been doing lately I tend to get very emotional, sometimes even to the point of tearing up :shock:
It always feels very odd and over-emotional, so I must be doing something wrong. Any ideas?
The technique is this: "May I be well" and other good intentions towards my self, those close to me, and then the whole world. Then coming back to myself and pervading good intentions in all directions as in the four quarters brahmavihara chant (don't know what it is called, sorry). Then I try to keep a thought-less attention on the metta whilst radiating it to all beings.

:anjali:
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Emotional Metta

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:37 am

I would say do the practice according to the method and if you feel like crying, cry. If the feeling of being emotional in the way you describe persists and its an obstacle to other things in your life, change methods or see a teacher. Metta and meditation in general has its emotional moments.
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html

lojong1
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Re: Emotional Metta

Postby lojong1 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:55 am

Could you be encountering the near enemy of another brahmavihara?

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ground
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Re: Emotional Metta

Postby ground » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:28 am

Coyote wrote:...Then I try to keep a thought-less attention on the metta whilst radiating it to all beings.

Since "radiating it to all beings" may only be done by means of thought, and "thought-less attention on metta" appears as contradiction I would try to dissolve thought in the sphere of metta. In that way sense of self and others may be equally dissolved and therefore "emotional" as well ... maybe even metta, who knows? But of course what I would try doesn't have to be of any relevance for you. :sage:

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tiltbillings
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Re: Emotional Metta

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:01 am

Coyote wrote:I find that if I do metta meditation for a longer period of time than usual couple of minutes before the vedana-sati practice I have been doing lately I tend to get very emotional, sometimes even to the point of tearing up :shock:
It always feels very odd and over-emotional, so I must be doing something wrong. Any ideas?
The technique is this: "May I be well" and other good intentions towards my self, those close to me, and then the whole world. Then coming back to myself and pervading good intentions in all directions as in the four quarters brahmavihara chant (don't know what it is called, sorry). Then I try to keep a thought-less attention on the metta whilst radiating it to all beings.
Talking with Ajahn Sumedho at Wat Ba Pong in late 1974, he said he would do metta meditation and feel an overwhelming love for all creatures, and with tears flowing down his face he would extend his arms for the mosquitoes to feed. He also mentioned that it would not be unusual a couple of hours later after that for him to be grumpy with one of his fellow monks. The point is that metta meditation does have its limits, and metta and compassion find their real expression and foundation with insight into dukkha, anicca, and anatta.

The purpose of metta meditation, or the Dhamma practice as a whole, is not to become emotionless.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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daverupa
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Re: Emotional Metta

Postby daverupa » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:47 am

I don't think it's helpful to isolate metta as love, which seems to be at the root of the tears.

Depending on the context of the beings which are there, one oughtn't distinguish between beings (upekkha) while responding to their situation with camaraderie (metta, the default), mudita & karuna when suitable. In each case, the brahmaviharas inform right intention with respect to those beings; but the vedana of equanimously pervading the brahmaviharas is incompatible with the vedana of crying, in my experience.

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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FatDaddy
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Re: Emotional Metta

Postby FatDaddy » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:44 pm

Coyote wrote:.... I tend to get very emotional, sometimes even to the point of tearing up :shock:
It always feels very odd and over-emotional, so I must be doing something wrong. Any ideas?
:anjali:


I did a metta retreat some years ago and I had a very intense emotional experience like you describe. I found that I had a profound resistance to the idea that I deserve to be happy. I would say keep doing the practice with emphasis on the mental aspect of your intention for the happiness of all beings. From my experience, it is somthing you should work through.
Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
long, large,
middling, short,
subtle, blatant,
seen & unseen,
near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or irritation
wish for another to suffer.
— Sn 1.8

Coyote
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Re: Emotional Metta

Postby Coyote » Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:38 pm

Thank you all for the advice!

lojong1 wrote:Could you be encountering the near enemy of another brahmavihara?


You mean pity, the enemy of Karuna? I thought so too at first, but it seems to me that the emotion is based entirely on the pleasant feeling, and a rather over-emotional love. If anything, it may be the enemy of metta itself, attached love.

ground wrote:Since "radiating it to all beings" may only be done by means of thought, and "thought-less attention on metta" appears as contradiction I would try to dissolve thought in the sphere of metta. In that way sense of self and others may be equally dissolved and therefore "emotional" as well ... maybe even metta, who knows? But of course what I would try doesn't have to be of any relevance for you.


This is a good idea, I think. I will try it. I meant, though, about thought-less attention only a lack of discursive thinking - I drop the active thought of "may beings be well" and just keep with the feelings and intentions.

FatDaddy wrote:I did a metta retreat some years ago and I had a very intense emotional experience like you describe. I found that I had a profound resistance to the idea that I deserve to be happy.


This is the same for me too. I have listened to several talks where Bhikkhus mention that many westerners, especially those coming to Buddhism, are rather emotionally disturbed in the area of self-love. Though I think we all are, apart from Arahants.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26


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