New York subway metta practice

meditation

Metta meditation, so-called loving-kindness meditation, is very powerful to make better friends with yourself and others. Basically you send well wishes towards yourself and others by repeating loving-kindness phrases such as may I (you) be well, happy and peaceful. I know it sounds cheesy but it really is a wonderful practice when all those bit$hy judgy voice is going on over and over in the head.

There are many ways to do this practice. I recommend the book Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg to learn more about it. There are classically 6 categories of beings that you send well wishes to: self, teacher, friend or family, stranger, difficult person, and all beings. In the Buddhist scripture, there are 2 categories: self and all beings. Practicing with the classic 6 categories is a great place to start.

Anyways, I live in New York City and commute by subway everyday. This is just a funny way to keep going with the practice outside of  formal sitting practice:

  1. Count the number of stations I have to get to. (42nd St to 66th St on 1 train would be 3 stations)
  2. I send well wishes to different categories in between stations. (42nd-50th is self, 50th-59th is friend, 59th-66th is all beings)
  3. Don’t miss the stop!

If I have to go up to 6 stations, that’s great! If more? I sandwich with quick mindfulness of breath to start and end. So that’s 8 stations!!! Wow. That’s Queensboro Plaza to Canal St on N train… Sounds good to me.

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