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Metta And Messaging

What is Metta, and why is it something we should consider including in our meditation repertoire? In a word (actually, two words) metta is about love, and messaging-- two words that aren't often mentioned in the same sentence.

Technically, metta is a Pali (pre-Sanskrit) word that has been translated into modern English in a variety of ways-- the most popular recent translation is, "loving kindness", which strikes many skeptics as a bit airy-fairy.

That's where the concept of messaging can be helpful. Messaging has gotten a lot of mention lately (during the U.S. election, relative in particular to our response to COVID), and regardless of where one stands on the political spectrum, it's generally regarded as a legit social communication concept. Turns out, there really is something to the notion of frequent, consistent messaging-- or in the case of metta, self-messaging.

If we repeat words of love and kindness to ourselves consistently, and often enough, we actually begin to hear them and accept those words as, "true". Which, in turn, can impact our behavior and our view of the world-- our attitude toward others. Funny how that works!

In another sense (or, another tradition) metta is also akin to prayer. A typically silent, but nonetheless genuine, wish of goodwill that is sent out to others-- and, to one's self. In that latter way, metta is a close cousin to self-compassion. Good wishes both for the goose, and for the gander.

Ralph Waldo Emerson famously branded consistency as, "the hobgoblin of little minds", but I don't think he was a meditator-- and I'm not sure he was such a happy soul. I don't think self-reliance has much to do with self-compassion, and maybe it'd be best to just leave it at that.

Call it marketing, or social-engineering, or whatever you will. Metta and messaging, combined, are a force for the good. That bears repeating (pun intended)-- together, they are messages of good. They are messages of comfort. They are messages of joy.

It's time for a metta-morphisis!


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