Yes, I know it’s Valentine’s Day with all its complex history and delightful rituals, but a day devoted to romance is so limiting. In Mexico it’s called El día del amor y la amistad, Day of Love and Friendship. That’s a little more expansive. If you aren’t in a romantic relationship you don’t have to hole up watching old movies, eating bon bons and grabbing tissues. You can let friends know how much you love them. A nice addition!
But when it comes to love, there’s nothing that can compare with Metta or loving kindness. This radiant well wishing is love from an infinite source. And because it can’t be depleted, we can tap into our natural desire to be generous. We don’t have to pick and choose among the people we know to single out ones who are worthy of sending metta. We send it to everyone, we send it to all beings.
So what would it be like to have this day be about sending metta? Well, first we could give up a lot of expectations around receiving valentines and other displays of romantic affection. We can give up comparing mind around what others are doing for their sweethearts. We can give up worrying about whether what we do is enough to satisfy our sweetheart’s need for acknowledgment of love. And of course, if we aren’t in a relationship, we don’t feel we have to hide away, or find other friends not in a relationship in order to survive the day. In other words we could give up fear, fear of not being loved, fear of not being enough, fear of being misunderstood, fear of being perceived by others as unattractive or unlovable. That’s a whole lot of unpleasantness. How great to let it go!
On Metta Day we just send blessings all day! First we start with ourselves, sensing in to that radiant loving energy, soaking it up as if it were the sun’s rays. A little metta-bathing. The sun doesn’t pick and choose who is worthy to receive its light, and neither does metta. “May I be well.” “May I be happy.” “May I be peaceful.” Any resistance to saying such words to ourselves, spoken or internal, is worthy of noticing. Most likely it is just residue from that old fear-based pattern of thinking. We send metta to the aspect of ourselves that is clinging to fear.
After we feel fully saturated with this loving energy, (or as saturated as we are willing to be at this point) we recognize that we are a conduit for metta. We breathe it into ourselves, accepting it fully, feeling the unconditional quality of this love. And then we breathe it out to the rest of the world. “May you be well. May you be happy. May you be peaceful.” As we go about our day out in the world, we let the metta blessings flow, wordless for the most part yet strongly heard and strongly felt by every person we meet. Every exchange will be sweeter for this loving intention.
And what of our sweetheart, if we have one? Radiant metta, loving from an infinite an unconditional source, is the best gift to any relationship. When two beings meet in metta the love expressed is transformative. And the chocolates taste even better, the flowers look even more beautiful and the time spent together, fully present in the infinite embrace of loving kindness, is a true union of our deepest selves.
So Happy Metta Day! May you be well. May you be happy. May you be peaceful.