By Michelle Fajkus

I took one of those silly online quizzes recently and one of the questions was particularly hard to answer.

Would you rather be: productive, powerful, practical or peaceful?

All of the above!

But since it was a multiple-choice question, I chose peaceful. I noticed myself shying away from the term, “powerful.” I all too often associate power with authority, money, and external power, even though I know deep down that the art of being peaceful (and practical and productive) is a way of expressing my authentic inner power.

This merry month of May, I am focusing on loving kindness—or metta—practice as part of my formal meditation and writing practices. Metta is a simple, peaceful and powerful technique of visualization and repetition of aspirations, or good wishes.

Here’s an example of a metta meditation that you can adapt for your own personal practice:

I sit on the ground with my legs crossed. I sit tall, feeling strong and grounded. I gently close my eyelids, and in my mind’s eye, I see my own face as if I’m looking in the mirror. I say to myself,

May I be safe.
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be free from suffering.

Sometimes, this flows smoothly and easily. It feels splendid to offer myself these loving wishes. Other times, doubting voices arise in my mind. (“Why should I be happy?” “There is no freedom from suffering.”) Whatever comes up, I simply notice.

Next, I see my two living grandmothers sitting before me.

They are 89 and 92 now. I see them in their old age and I see them as I remember them as a child. I see them as the young, glamour girls they were in old photographs. I hold their hands in mine and say:

May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be free from suffering.

This is easy. I love my grandmothers. They are wonderful. It feels natural and pleasant to send them these positive wishes.

Now, I see myself sitting there along with my two grandmas. I see my flaws and my strengths. I witness my body and my mind. I see my other beloveds have joined us. My parents, my husband, my daughter, my brother, my sister, my soul mates.

May we be safe.
May we be happy.
May we be healthy.
May we be free.

I see an acquaintance. I see the cashier at the corner store. I see the security guard who stands calmly outside the bank all day. I see the new neighbor.

May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be free.

I see an enemy. I see someone who has stabbed me in the back. I see people who have gossiped about me and slandered my reputation. I see difficult people, individuals with whom I have had disputes and conflicts. At first it’s impossible, but eventually I soften up and say, even to them,

May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be free.

I place my palms together and visualize the metta as a green light in my heart center. My body begins to glow with this green light, like an electric bulb.

The light then gets brighter and more powerful and spreads out from my body to cover my entire house, street, neighborhood, community, town, city, region, state, country, continent.

It extends beyond the land, permeating the oceans and continuing to shine across the whole Earth. I see that all beings and myself are one. I repeat the metta aspirations for all sentient beings:

May all beings be safe.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be healthy.
May all beings be free.

I feel grateful to be alive, to be a human, to have this opportunity to live, learn and love every day.

May we love and be patient.
May we serve and benefit others.
May we share and live in harmony.
May we be at peace and live with ease.

Do you practice metta? What other aspirations do you use?


Michelle Margaret FajkusMichelle Margaret Fajkus is the founder of Yoga Freedom and co-creator of EnlightenEd. She is a 30-something gringa Gemini in Guatemala where she lives with her life partner, daughter and black cat. Michelle learned hatha yoga from a book at age 12 and found Buddha in California at 23. Read her books, or come down for a retreat! Connect with Michelle on Google+ or Facebook.


Photo: starssimone54/tumblr

Editor: Dana Gornall