We live in a very fast paced world today. We virtually fight with 24 hours to finish a day’s work. Juggling work and personal life with all its demands seems overwhelming. Most of the times we fail to balance work and personal life. And that leads to many problems and causes stress. These issues retrograde our lives and affect our productivity. That means more time is taken to complete a task, which makes the balancing part more difficult. Most of us are caught up in this dilemma. The way out of it is to be able to do more with less time. You may have read many articles on how to manage time and how to increase productivity and so on, but today we will look at the benefits of Metta meditation.
In Metta meditation, we fill our heart and mind with loving-kindness and friendliness towards ourselves first and then spread it towards others around. When the mind gets gradually purified, with practice, by Metta, defilements such as anger and hatred would be replaced by kindness and friendliness towards others. Let us learn his can help us do more work in less time. The Buddha has taught eleven (11) remarkable benefits in one full Sutta (discourse) called Mettanisansa Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya).
01.Sukham Supathi – Sleeps well/easily
A pleasant and comfortable sleep is a must to manage one’s day-to-day work successfully. It refreshes and energizes both the mind & body with a positive feeling. However, when work demands more time we tend to curtail sleeping time. Also even when we have time many complain of not being able to sleep well due to various external factors, while some suffer from sleep disorders or insomnia. Instances where we could not fall asleep when so desired are not rare in our lives.
A result of Metta meditation is one sleeps well. Even if the time we have for sleep is less, if we can get a good rest during that short sleep, that refreshes us make us ready for the next day.
02. Sukham Patibujjhati – Wakes up well/easily
Not only falling asleep well, waking up fresh is also a must for an active and productive day. Sometimes when we wake up we feel more tired. This does happen regardless of the duration slept or how comfortable the surrounding was. But if one practices Metta well and as a habit, that person wakes up easily, fresh and mindfully. Upon waking up with a clear mind, one can easily plan for the day ahead.
03. Na Papakam Supinam Passati – Will not see unpleasant dreams
Not seeing fearful or unpleasant dreams is also necessary for comfortable and refreshing sleep. Negative feelings like fear, anxiety and disappointments trigger baseless, unexplainable, understandable dreams that may confuse or disturb us upon waking. Metta meditation will help ease out negative feelings resulting in an undisturbed sleep.
04. Manussanam Piyo Hoti – Liked/admired by humans
Think of a person who easily gets angry or is in an angry mood most of the time – would you prefer to see him often or seek his company? On the contrary, most of us would enjoy the presence of a person who is kind – flexible – ready to listen and is understanding. These are a few qualities that a person practicing Metta, who wishes the well-being and happiness of all living beings, would possess.
At work we deal with lots of people. And if you are a pleasant person people will like to work with you or for you. You will be able to get things done faster than another saving your valuable time.
05. Amanussanam Piyo Hoti – Liked/admired by non-humans
Similar to humans, there are non-humans, who are disciples (Shrawaka) of the Buddha and practice Metta. Such non-human Shrawakas along with other non-humans like Yakkha, Naga, Kumbhanda, Gandharwa and Petha also prefer the presence of persons with Metta in their vicinity. The rays of Metta of such persons heal the hearts of non-humans, at least temporarily, who are filled with unrest and intolerance. This benefit might not be visible, but non-human’s help may save you from lots of troubles. And also you may receive their help to do things you find impossible to do.
06. Devata Rakkhanti – Blessed and protected by Devas
Practicing Metta properly gradually reflects in a person’s actions (whether in public or private). So, it is not hard for Devas (divine spirits) to identify whether someone really has been radiating Metta, as our lives are open at all times for them. The Devas sympathetically look after the persons with Metta, similar to the way children are blessed and protected by parents. This can result in us being protected from unexpected accidents and from instances where we can get in to trouble. It’s like having an invisible friend who sees our future and guides us in the correct path.
07. Nassa Aggia Wa Visam Wa Saththam Wa Kamati – Would not be harmed by fire, poison or weapons
This is a great benefit if your work involves use of fire, poison, or weapons. Even if it is not we are open to harm/injuries that can occur from fire, poison or weapons, either accidentally or caused by an action of another person. But, one would be protected from such incidents if he practices Metta in life.
08. Thuwatam Chittam Samadhiyati – Mind becomes serene and concentrated easily
Metta makes the mind free of anger (vyapada) – which is one of powerful hindrances that prevent the mind becoming concentrated; thereby helping the mind to become serene. This is a great benefit because having the ability to think about what we want to think without wandering off to unnecessary topics, saves time and energy. Being able to think and act quickly is a blessing in our fast-paced life.
09. Mukhawanno Vippasidati – Complexion of face becomes fair
Metta meditation purifies the blood and the resultant relaxed and happy mood eases the blood circulation throughout the body. As a result the complexion of one’s face becomes radiant. This will definitely save time and money we spend at salons or on cosmetic products. This natural beauty with inner happiness will give you confidence to face the world.
10. Asammulho Kalam Karoti – Can remain conscious and mindful at death
Death is an element of Dukkha that will come to anyone who is born. A person, who radiates Metta towards all living beings, would get the rare opportunity to face death peacefully and consciously. Even though this benefit does not seem like a direct help to balance your work and personal life, this gives some sort of peacefulness since we cannot avoid death. And that peace of mind will help us with your daily work.
11. Uttarim Appativijjanto Brahmalokupago Hoti – Will be borne in Brahma Loka, if doesn’t reach the holiness of Arihat
If an Arya Shrawaka (noble disciple of the Buddha) who purifies his mind by practicing Metta does not reach the ultimate state of Arihant during this lifetime, he is sure to be born in the Brahma Loka in the following birth where he will end his journey in samsara. This benefit gives the highest level of peacefulness. Isn’t it not having a peaceful mind the real reason for all the stresses and inability to work properly?
However, as per Mettanisamsa Sutta, the benefits discussed above can only be realized if the radiation of loving-kindness is mastered; developed as a habit; pursued; and consolidated. So if one would like to gain the above benefits, he or she has to be determined and diligent in the purification of mind by gradually developing Metta.
As you can see, Metta is a package of solutions for most of the issues being encountered by us in our day-to-day life. Now that you learnt the benefits of Metta meditation, you can try practicing Metta as a solution provider to your problems. If you think, you have no time to do this, think again: do you want to reenergize and balance your life or do you want to continue your stressful life?
May all of us have the rare chance of winning that life’s battles with the help of Metta. Sabbe Satta Sukhino Bhawantu – May all be well and happy
By Mohan Senaratne & Prajapati Jayawardene