I 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.