Joseph Goldstein – Insight Hour – Ep. 141 – Metta: Preparing the Ground

Joseph Goldstein explores the quality of Metta, or lovingkindness, and offers advice on preparing the ground from which Metta can grow and flourish. 

This dharma talk from February 5, 2000, was originally published on Dharma Seed.
Joseph Betterhelp
May All Beings Be Happy

Joseph introduces the quality of Metta, also known as lovingkindness. He gives examples of people who seem to radiate this quality, such as the Dalai Lama. Joseph talks about how Metta actually becomes the ground for more wisdom to develop in our lives. As we develop the quality of Metta, we also become less reactive and judgmental; we begin to gradually live in a place of greater benevolence.

“It’s the basic generosity of the heart that simply wishes well for all beings. It’s the simple wish, ‘May all beings be happy.’ And although there’s great benefit to us from this feeling and we can actually develop it in ourselves, Metta itself does not seek any self-benefit. And that’s precisely its purity.” – Joseph Goldstein

JoAnna Hardy explores cultivating self-love through Metta practice in BHNN Guest Podcast Ep. 50
Metta: Preparing the Ground (16:00)

Joseph details how we can go about preparing the ground out of which the quality of Metta really grows. He covers the three qualities which really serve as a foundation for Metta: being straightforward, being gentle, and not being proud. From there, we work in more specific ways to cultivate Metta. Joseph talks about focusing on the good qualities in ourselves and others, feeling gratitude (even towards one’s enemies), and practicing forgiveness and letting go.

“Something very beautiful begins to happen when we click onto the Metta channel, which comes by focusing on the good qualities in people, and that is: we become increasingly open to feelings of gratitude.” – Joseph Goldstein

Jack Kornfield talks about gratitude and generosity in Heart Wisdom Ep. 137
Concentration and Patience (39:50)

Joseph dives into Metta practice itself. In addition to the cultivation of Metta, it’s also a concentration practice. Can we keep coming back to the Metta phrases when our minds inevitably wander away? Ultimately, it’s about taking it one phrase at a time. Joseph ends by talking about the importance of patience in transforming our practice.

“But it is this same quality of patience that allows for this gradual transformation of our minds, of our hearts, of our lives in the world. We actually can develop, to a greater and greater extent, this feeling, this quality, of Metta.” – Joseph Goldstein

Sharon Salzberg explores Metta, patience, and balance in Metta Hour Ep. 38

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