Mettā bhāvanā… a venture into loving kindness

fullsizeoutput_5edI went this bright sunny morning to the Shrewsbury Triratna Buddhist Centre for a meditation session – mettā bhāvanā – which cannot be literally translated but means something like ‘loving kindness’.

As I walked to the centre from my apartment – a lovely 15 min saunter up and past the castle, around the now defunct Dana prison (a glorious Victorian building, today offering ‘prison tours – £4.50’) on the high path following the river, in mid-morning sunshine – I already felt calm and content. But I recognise that deep inside, the waters are slightly more choppy and there’s a need to really unpick This Life and My Place In It.

There’s also a need to disengage. From digital distractions, from work, from worries and woes, and just feel.

The session was glorious – two meditations, with some talk in-between – with about 10 or 12 people attending. Shrewsbury Triratna Buddhist Centre is a gorgeous space, lovingly converted from an old church hall (?) which had been out of use for some time. Now, it provides a beautiful calm space, masses of natural light – just walking into the building felt right.

The mettā bhāvanā meditation is about loving oneself and others, without exception. We were asked to – one by one – introduce into our thoughts ourself, those we’re close to, those we’re indifferent to, and those we have issues with… ultimately, in the final stage of the meditation, all these people are brought together within ourselves. That was quite a powerful contemplation, and I’m still churning it over in my mind.

I think this world is currently a dark place – so much scary stuff going on, so much hatred, so much sadness and isolation and dissatisfaction and angst. We need light and love in our lives – and I firmly believe that collective thought is a powerful thing. This morning I sent out good vibes as wide and far as I could… small steps.

 

 

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1984

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“If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.” George Orwell, 1984

 
Was looking through some old diaries – 1980 through to 1990 – “what was I doing on this day in…” being the question idly to mind.

In 1984, my old banger of a car was in and out of the garage throughout April (a Mini van, with a number of bus parts on it, as my then boyfriend worked for his family’s coachbuilding company – recall having had a bus reverse honk fitted to my indicators, in fact… amusingly noisy for a small car). Anyway, clearly that month my little car needed work, and the following was the bill:

Exhaust: £20, Engine Mounting: £30, Tuning: £15.50, Suspension: £14.52

Wow. Can’t even contemplate what that bill would come out at in today’s money. (That said, £80 spent on my car in one week in 1984 would have felt slightly painful! Probably hence the diligent entry of the figures).

The three diaries in the picture represent 1984, 1985 and 1986. (apologies for blurring out my hugely interesting entries… protection of the innocent, and all that jazz 😏). Party years – my God but each week is filled with events. What blissful freedom exists when one is 20-22 yrs old.

My Diaries of the Past are in no way literary works of art (not journals, merely a litany of “places I need to be/was”), and I’ve often regretted never keeping a proper journal, but it’s still heartwarming to glance back through these things and I’m glad I kept them, scrappy little throw-away items that they are. They reside in my Little Box of Special Things, along with a few treasured letters, some photos, tickets and invites… I maybe look at them once a decade. It makes me smile.

I keep a more dedicated, expansive journal now – and have done for the past two years – a little late to the game, and no idea whether that will induce the same smiles when I’m 92 (should I ever reach that age!!). Think perhaps not – there’s no innocence, no blithe freedom, in my entries as ‘responsible adult’.

Though am sure there’s one or two bits in them that’ll make me smile, one day… 😉