When I was doing yoga regularly, my yoga teacher would often talk about this concept of loving kindness (metta) that I found very intriguing and inspirational. I’m not going to do the idea it’s full justice here, but basically, in terms of yoga, she explained loving kindness this way:
Noticing in your yoga poses, the way you hold, feel, and react to the position. There are certain positions that we love and embrace, and others that fill us with tension, resistance and frustration. The trick is to approach each pose with the same level of openness and acceptance. Moving outside of practice, the key is to transpose that same approach to the things we do in our everyday life. Observe the things we avoid, the things we crave, the things we love and embrace, and then to remember to accept our emotional responses and work to move beyond them, learning to approach all areas of our life with the same level of openness and acceptance.
Like I said, I’m probably doing the concept a grave injustice, but suffice to say, regular yoga practice and this concept of loving kindness first to self and then to others, was something that I started believing could really change the world. (Sure, sure, I know that makes me sound like an idealistic flake, but really, at heart, I am). I really do believe that yoga could change the world and bring out the best in people, regardless of faith, creed, race, gender, or age. I think the concept of loving kindness is incredibly powerful and really, at the end of the day, at the heart of many religions when you look past all the outer trappings.
Anyways, lately I’ve found myself thinking a lot about yoga, Buddhism and the concept of metta (loving kindness). Buddhism encourages metta meditation: the practice of loving yourself, your friends, your enemies, all, and the universe without attachment. When I was younger and first learning about Buddhism in college, I really thought that Buddhism had it wrong and that the idea of aspiring to non-attachment was completely unnatural. But now that I understand the world a bit more and grasp some complexities behind that philosophy in a much more profound way, I have to say that I find more sense in Buddhism than I do in any other path. And as I find myself moving more and more towards yogic and Buddhist philosophies in life, it occurs to me that the world could really use a lot more metta in it.