I have been reading about the “Metta Bhavana” meditation. Metta is the Pali term used to denote Loving Kindness in Buddhist teaching. This is a meditation where one cultivates one’s capacity for loving kindness, both for one’s self and for all other creatures. By focusing and “watering (cultivating or nurturing),” so to speak, these positive feelings and attitudes, they become more and more present and eventually can predominate ones disposition. I haven’t yet begun to practice this meditation yet, but I am looking forward to it. Currently I am reading about this practice and reading some descriptions of how to practice this meditation. I will share more about my personal experience with this meditation in later posts.
My purpose for writing this post is to highlight a movie that, I think, exemplifies that which the Metta Bhavana seeks to cultivate. I recently took my family and we went to see “Big Miracle.” Which is a theatrical retelling of a real life event that took place in the 1980’s. The circumstance is where some whales became trapped in the ice of the arctic and were quickly going to drown if the ice continued to seal them and trap them. This tragedy brought about a massive action on the part of many groups (governmental, oil companies, aboriginals and many whose ideological views led them to lend a hand), where they worked together to attempt freeing these whales.
Needless to say, not all of these groups or entities were predisposed to feelings of metta when it came to the plight of the whales. The Oil companies were wanting to drill in the artic tundra, the governmental agencies attempted to be occupied with other “more important” issues, neither started out with feelings of metta toward these creatures and the problematic situation surrounding them. However, while some of these groups came to the aid of the whales with reluctance with selfish motivation (at least as far as the movie portrays, coerced by public opinion), after cultivating kindness through their response they had come to care greatly for the creatures and earnestly desired for their survival.
Metta is feelings of loving kindness where one desires, for self and for others, happiness with all its causes. It doesn’t include acting to create that happiness or to change conditions. That is where my analogy regarding this movie breaks down. But is it a great movie and I have a feeling this metta bhavana meditation is going to cultivate good things in my life. I recommend both!