MAY ALL BEINGS HAVE HAPPINESS AND THE CAUSES OF HAPPINESS.
MAY ALL BEINGS BE FREE FROM SUFFERING AND THE CAUSES OF SUFFERING.
MAY ALL BEINGS DWELL IN EQUANIMITY, FREE FROM ATTACHMENT AND AVERSION.
MAY ALL BEINGS NEVER BE PARTED FROM FREEDOM’S TRUE JOY.”
~from David Nichtern’s “In Praise of…” lyrics based on Metta practice in the Buddhist tradition
These words that form the practice of Metta also known as Lovingkindness practice in the Buddhist tradition are a great comfort to many when focused on as part of a daily practice of training the mind.
I was thinking of how much suffering I put myself through by worrying and stressing about all the ills of my life and in the lives of animals and the environment. While meditation on Metta is a great way to release some of that worry, I think another great thing is when we can turn worrying into action, and then let go of the results.
I recently heard a conversation about one of the more sensational and horrifying news stories here in the US, and the people I was with assuring each other that it was the karma of the people involved to be part of this horrific act of torture and violence. While I trust that the people speaking were well-meaning and kind people, I have to disagree with this outlook, or at least the result it seems to have, which is to then dismiss the entire situation as out of our hands and not our responsibility. Instead of the tendency to generalize pain out of our awareness, because it hurts too much to think about, we do have a responsibility to look at suffering and see what we each can change in our lives or ways we can help in individual ways to relieve this suffering. This is one reason I went to Thailand and volunteered with the Elephants, why I contribute to environmental and animal rescue groups, why I admire people who walk their talk every day in their work and personal life. I wondered if the only way that people who abuse animals for instance can do so, is to see them not as individuals, but as objects or groups over which people have control. So would it help to see some individuals in the animal world? I’m going to include a few pictures of individuals at Elephant Nature Park, which I find very beautiful, and I hope you do too. These have been saved from a life of suffering and are some of the lucky ones. Each of us can take small and big actions to help more individuals become free of suffering, especially ourselves. Because would you ever hurt another unless you were suffering yourself? Each time we help heal another, we help heal ourselves. And if you are now in too much pain to help another, hopefully someone will reach out to help you out of your darkness. This is what we can do to make the world a better place, one step at a time. We help each other, even when we don’t understand why the world is the way it is. In this way we help ourselves out of our own pain and misery.
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all beings be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all beings dwell in equanimity, free of attachment and aversion.
May all beings never be parted from freedoms true joy.