Good will, loving-kindness, friendliness, a friendly feeling, metta. How do you practise metta? You start by trying to understand the value of your own life; you must see how much you love yourself. The dearest thing for every individual in the world is their own life. Therefore, first of all, feel the love for yourself. I do not mean carnal appetite when I use this word ‘love’; I mean good will and benevolence. You must hope for the welfare of your own life.
Anyone who doesn’t love himself or herself cannot love others. First practise love for yourself, and then extend that very same love to your nearest and dearest — your child, for example. Do this until you feel that there is no difference between your child and yourself. Then go a little further and try to feel love for, say, a brother. Again, do this until you feel there is no difference between you, your child and your brother. Continue practising like this from person to person, from individual to individual. Extend love to relatives, friends, neighbours and all the people in your vicinity. Then direct your loving-kindness to those living further away, and on and on until you gradually encompass all the people in the whole country. Then continue; extend your love to those in surrounding countries, and further and further until all the human beings on the whole earth are the objects of your love. (more…)