Metta for the Whole World: A Meditative Reflection

Metta for the Whole World: A Meditative Reflection



“Metta” means lovingkindness. A beautiful way to compensate for the hard-wired tendency to fix our attention and affections on mainly one person, or small group of people, is to deliberately cultivate and practice an attitude of compassion and kindness toward people in general.


A Reflection


Finding a posture that helps you remain both alert and relaxed.

Settling into the breath.

Going with the feelings that seem right to you, staying with the suggestions here or following your own direction.

Sensing the sensations of the breath in the chest, in the region of the heart.

Bringing to mind the feeling of being with someone you care about deeply. Someone you love.

Feeling that love.

Perhaps sensing that love flowing through the heart, perhaps in a rhythm with the breath.

Perhaps a sense of that love as having a life of its own, flowing through your heart, not specific to any one person.

That love becoming more global, a broad sense of goodwill and kindness toward the people you know well, your immediate friends and family.

Perhaps a sense of that lovingkindness flowing through your heart in rhythm with the breath.

That lovingkindness extending further outward toward the many people you know who are pretty neutral to you . . . perhaps people you see sometimes at the store, or at work, or connected with people you know well . . . wishing them the best, too . . . that they suffer less . . . that they are truly happy . . .

Perhaps a sense of the lovingkindness like a warmth or light shining outward through you . . . or like a spreading pool like water, lapping outward ever farther, gentle waves extending outward to include ever more people.

Lovingkindness including even difficult people . . . lovingkindness with a life and strength of its own . . . that recognizes some of the many causes that affected those people and led them to be a problem for you . . . lovingkindness that wishes well to even people who have mistreated you . . . lovingkindness that wishes that even they may suffer less . . . lovingkindness that they, too, may be truly happy . . .

The peacefulness and strength of this lovingkindness flowing outward ever farther to include people you know exist, though you do not know them personally . . . lovingkindness for all the people living in America today, whether you agree with them or not, whether you like them or not . . . .

Taking a couple minutes here on your own, to explore extending your lovingkindness to each one of the billions of people living here on Earth . . .

Someone somewhere right now laughing . . . someone crying . . . someone getting married . . . someone caring for a sick child or parent . . . someone worried . . . someone being born . . . someone dying . . . .

Lovingkindness flowing, extending out, comfortable and flowing, perhaps in rhythm with the breath . . . Lovingkindness extending to all living beings on this Earth . . . Wishing them all well . . . All animals of all kinds, in the sea, on the earth, in the air . . . May they suffer less and find more comfort . . . All plants of all kinds . . . All microorganisms of all kinds, the amoebas, the bacteria, even the viruses . . . May they
all suffer less, and find more comfort . . .

So that all cubs are our own . . .

So that all beings are our clan . . .

All life, our relatives . . .

The whole earth, our home . . .

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Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and expert on the impact of toxic narcissism. She is a Professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, and also a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg.

The focus of Dr. Ramani’s clinical, academic, and consultative work is the etiology and impact of narcissism and high-conflict, entitled, antagonistic personality styles on human relationships, mental health, and societal expectations. She has spoken on these issues to clinicians, educators, and researchers around the world.

She is the author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist, and Don't You Know Who I Am? How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility. Her work has been featured at SxSW, TEDx, and on a wide range of media platforms including Red Table Talk, the Today Show, Oxygen, Investigation Discovery, and Bravo, and she is a featured expert on the digital media mental health platform MedCircle. Dr. Durvasula’s research on personality disorders has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and she is a Consulting Editor of the scientific journal Behavioral Medicine.

Dr. Stephen Porges is a Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He is a former president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and has been president of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences, which represents approximately twenty-thousand biobehavioral scientists. He’s led a number of other organizations and received a wide variety of professional awards.

In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological states in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders, and has had a major impact on the field of psychology.

Dr. Porges has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers across a wide array of disciplines. He’s also the author of several books including The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation.

Dr. Bruce Perry is the Principal of the Neurosequential Network, Senior Fellow of The ChildTrauma Academy, and a Professor (Adjunct) in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and the School of Allied Health at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. From 1993 to 2001 he was the Thomas S. Trammell Research Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and chief of psychiatry at Texas Children's Hospital.

He’s one of the world’s leading experts on the impact of trauma in childhood, and his work on the impact of abuse, neglect, and trauma on the developing brain has impacted clinical practice, programs, and policy across the world. His work has been instrumental in describing how traumatic events in childhood change the biology of the brain.

Dr. Perry's most recent book, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, was released earlier this year. Dr. Perry is also the author, with Maia Szalavitz, of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, a bestselling book based on his work with maltreated children, and Born For Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered. Additionally, he’s authored more than 300 journal articles and book chapters and has been the recipient of a variety of professional awards.

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Sharon has authored 10 books, and is the host of the fantastic Metta Hour podcast. She was a contributing editor of Oprah’s O Magazine, had her work featured in Time and on NPR, and contributed to panels alongside the Dalai Lama.

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