YOU CANNOT POST. OUR WEB HOSTING COMPANY DECIDED TO MOVE THE SERVER TO ANOTHER LOCATION. IN THE MEANTIME, YOU CAN VIEW THIS VERSION WHICH DOES NOT ALLOW POSTING AND WILL NOT SAVE ANYTHING YOU DO ONCE THE OTHER SERVER GOES ONLINE.

Problems with cultivating metta - Dhamma Wheel

Problems with cultivating 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.
kilanta
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:27 pm
Location: Finland

Problems with cultivating metta

Postby kilanta » Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:13 am

This question might be a bit too broad, but then again, worst questions are those never asked.

So, is it better to keep trying to override or repress ill-will, anger and hatred in the mind by repeating voicelessly something like "may all be well, happy and peaceful" or just observe the negative thoughts as long as they arise? Trying to gently repress negative thoughts by repeating someting positive raises another emotion, namely that of hypocricy, leaving an impression of not doing exactly the right thing. The mind seems not to be able to generate genuine good-will at all most of the time, and when it does, it's faint, weak and fades away almost before it can be observed. On the other hand just watching those negative thoughts raise and pass away gets exhausting when a negative thought is constantly getting replaced by another negative one.

These negative thoughts in the mind are aimed at the individual mind itself, the body it's dwelling in as well as other beings around. Most likely the basic problem is not being able to generate metta towards individual itself, thus not being able to generate it towards others either. It doesn't seem to be of any help to know on the rational level that these emotions are no good and produce only misery for both the individual experiencing them and to other people too, especially if acted on. On the other hand right speech and action do help a bit, and more often than not the negative thoughts and emotions do not raise reaction outside the mind. But sometimes they do provoke unskilful actions and speech, hurting others.

A self-help book titled "How To Love Yourself" might be one and easiest option, but maybe they're not the best option to progress on the Path.

Any scriptural references and personal experiences would be much appreciated.

binocular
Posts: 3391
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Problems with cultivating metta

Postby binocular » Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:00 am


User avatar
PadmaPhala
Posts: 169
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:22 am

Re: Problems with cultivating metta

Postby PadmaPhala » Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:10 am

no, it is better to focus on how those negative feelings can not take hold (root) than to "override them" with a brahma vihara.

if the feelings are neutral, then you can practice a brahma vihara.

User avatar
reflection
Posts: 1116
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:27 pm

Re: Problems with cultivating metta

Postby reflection » Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:57 am

Hi welcome to the forum!

If you try to force out thoughts of aversion, that's may just be another aversion: aversion to those thoughts. If you think you're somehow bad or wrong because you have such thoughts, you should cope with that first. Perhaps let aversion just be. Cultivating metta is a good method, seeing the downside of aversion also is, but letting be is another good method. The thoughts surely won't last forever. We all have them from time to time, it's human. And it's not always easy to steer the mind away from aversion. It takes a lot of practice to be able to do it in any situation. So it's ok if it doesn't always work. In the beginning it's hardest, but if you persist and don't act upon aversion, I assure you it will get easier.

I find MN20 the best sutta on this subject because it gives 5 methods to use, and in a specific order. I understand them as such:
1: cultivate metta / compassion
2: see the drawback of aversion
3: let it be
4: take away the willpower/delusion driving the aversion
5: tell the mind "no"

If you start with number 5, that may get you into troubles. It's only a last resort. But if you stick to number 1 as the one and only tool, that may not be enough. You can't cover up all wounds with a plaster, sometimes they need another treatment. So you could use this scheme of 5 methods, or you just realize you have to be a bit more creative. Because sticking to a method is another danger.

The mind is very subtle and to get a grip on such mind states is a delicate process, it's a bit like surgery. Sometimes when overcoming aversion you start another hindrance, for example. But with time you will get on a level beneath thoughts. There it will all be a lot clearer, and the list of methods above is not needed anymore because aversion just bounces off.

It could also very well be that "may all be happy" is too big an object to send metta towards. Pick someone or something easier. Perhaps a pet. And if repeating a sentence doesn't work, use some imagination. Really see the person or animal in front of you.

This is all based on my experience. All minds are different in a way, so see what works for you. Be creative.

With metta,
Reflection

Strive4Karuna
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:38 am

Re: Problems with cultivating metta

Postby Strive4Karuna » Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:27 pm


Buckwheat
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Problems with cultivating metta

Postby Buckwheat » Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:49 pm

Start with cultivating goodwill for something, anything, yourself, a baby, puppy or kitten if that's what it takes. Build that goodwill until you feel it in your heart. Even if you get slightly attached to it, that's probably better than letting ill-will run wild. Once you get a little more peaceful, bring goodwill to yourself, those close to you, etc. If you keep this up, you will soon be able to look at the original object that caused ill-will, and even have compassion for that object. If it a person who was causing you stress, you may see that the reason they caused you stress is that they do not have true inner happiness, so in order to get them to stop causing you stress, you may wish them to be happy (even if it's somewhat selfish; "may the person be happy so she stops bothering me").
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

Strive4Karuna
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:38 am

Re: Problems with cultivating metta

Postby Strive4Karuna » Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:56 pm

My experience with trying to overcome my arrogance. I would try to conceal it from everybody else. Sometimes yell at it, hate it. If you are like me, and you try to conceal your unwholesome states, STOP. Concealment itself is listed as one of the unwholesome states of mind. Do not hide your aversion. Do not yell at it and judge. The more accepting I become of my arrogance, the more accepting I become of others who are arrogant and I actually feel like I am making progress towards overcoming it. Every single time I use to see someone who was arrogant, I would judge that person and negative feelings would arise towards them. Is this love? Is this metta? No. Subconsiously, you are doing the exact same thing to yourself. It has taken me 20 years to realize how much aversion I have had for myself. To learn to love oneself, is to learn to love others. To learn to love others, is to learn to love oneself.

User avatar
fivebells
Posts: 416
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:52 am

Re: Problems with cultivating metta

Postby fivebells » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:12 pm


kilanta
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:27 pm
Location: Finland

Re: Problems with cultivating metta

Postby kilanta » Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:30 am



Return to “General Theravāda Meditation”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine