When I first started metta bhavana, everything went very well and I generated a strong feeling. Ironically, I am now anxious in doing this meditation (i.e. I skip some) because I feel I might not recreate the same quality as before. I feel this is definitely the wrong way of seeing, but I can almost not help it.

Are there any suggestions towards this type of anxiety/perfectionism?

  • 1
    Metta bhavana's supposed to be a selfless dedication practice, ie. there's just metta flowing without "I", "mine", or "myself" as the source of generation. As long as there's the notion of "I" am generating this metta, there'll be anxiety/perfectionism there. So, when there's metta, there's just metta, not "I am generating this metta".
    – santa100
    Commented May 5, 2019 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


I can only recommend looking up Ajahn Jayasaro's Dhamma talks. Some videos on meditation & wholesoms intentions.




As you will notice, he explicitly points out that Buddhism is not just meditation. Buddhism is a holistic training, where Conduct (Sila) & what you are doing outside of the meditation cushion, shouldn't be neglected.

Ironically, I am now anxious in doing this meditation (i.e. I skip some) because I feel I might not recreate the same quality as before.

I can only recommend to be aware of ideas with "should", "must", "got to" etc. Usually we're not conscious of these rigid rules, but by seeing our thoughts (which are largely spawned by these rules), we can clearly see that every extreme emotions has a rigid "must". This is craving.

If "I must feel pleasant feelings in the next meditation session" doesn't happen, people often evaluate this as awful, that is, they think this is 100% bad &/or they say that THEY CANNOT STAND IT, but they can stand it if they are being honest with themselves, although it being a struggle.

You better stick to an attitude such as: "I would like to experience pleasant feelings, but it doesn't have to be the way I want. I can live perfectly without it".

Also, have an attitude of learning (from experiences). Meaning, see feelings and thoughts as transient phenomena.

  • Can you explain what you mean by things such as "musts" or "must nots" are linked with extreme emotionality? I feel I experience a lot of such extreme ways of approaching situations, but I never related this to emotion before.
    – user7302
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 9:50
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    If these musts get violated then you will experience 'extreme negative emotions', such as depression , anger, unhealthy jealousy, shame, guilt, hurt, anxiety.
    – Val
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 11:25
  • If you want to know more about this let me know.
    – Val
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 11:32
  • Yeah, I'd be curious to know
    – user7302
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 19:21
  • You can look up 'Windy Dryden' on Google Book. There are a lot of previews there. His ideas are all based on Albert Ellis, founder of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), the pioneering Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). What it all comes down to is the ABC, A= Activating Event (mentally or externally), B= Belief (either rigid or flexible), and C= Cosequences (in thinking, feeling and behavioural tendencies). Disputing irrational beliefs is one of the central techniques in REBT.
    – Val
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 22:09

The perfectionism is required to attain Jhana.

The anxiety/worry can be ceased by the memory and understanding in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 9th, and 14th(15th,16th,17th) of the path of purification. In short, the professor of Jhana at Pa-Auk can advise you.

People often worry about what they don't proficiently know the way to manage. It's called Vicikiccha and Uddhacca hindrances.

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