Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 38 – Metta, Concentration and Balance

Concentration

We are reminded that when we are seeking balance, to practice meditation is to make a home of the deeper places that we have touched in our encounters with joy and sorrow. Loving Kindness is fueled by the truth, and therefore has the power to change our lives for the better. To train in Metta is to experiment in your relationship and reaction to all that you experience, with the understanding that everyone you see is as hopeful and deserving of the kindness and love that are our birthright. Concentration is the act of letting go of everything that is not, and is enhanced through the quality and consistency of the phrases used. A healthy balance of calm focus and creative energy help to bring this practice to life.

Metta is the Pali word for friendship or lovingkindness. It is taught as a meditation that cultivates our natural capacity for an open and loving heart. With its roots in practices said to have been taught by the Buddha himself, metta is traditionally offered along with meditations that enrich compassion, joy in the happiness of others and equanimity. These practices lead to the development of concentration, fearlessness, happiness and a greater ability to love.

Love exists in itself, not relying on owning or being owned. Like the pearl, love can only buy itself, because love is not a matter of currency or exchange. No one has enough to buy it but everyone has enough to cultivate it. Metta reunites us with what it means to be alive and unbound.

The peace of metta offers the kind of happiness that gives us the ability to concentrate. Serenity is the most important ingredient in being able to be present or being able to concentrate the mind. Concentration is an act of cherishing a chosen object. If we have no serenity, the mind will be scattered, and we will not be able to gather in the energy that is being lost to distraction. When we can concentrate, all of this energy is returned to us. This is the potency that heals us.

For another podcast from Sharon on Metta, check out “Introduction to Metta” or “Training Attention: Metta”

Image: “The Balance” by Christian Schloe