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I started practising compassion meditation, and initially it worked very well. Yet, I feel more averse to it than initially, and when I meditate I sometimes experience a kind of distorted facial expression, almost as if I experienced pain. Part of my psychology-related background leads me to think this is either fear of compassion, or even repressed contents surfacing to consciousness.

1) Is there any way to bypass this obstacle to meditation?

2) Is there anything in Buddhist literature about fearing/aversion to compassion?

3) Is there anything to suggest some memories or karma may surface in meditation, or even simply other inner contents?

Thank you

  • Study and listen to J.K. You will get your answer. Not that J.K. will answer your questions, but he will inspire you to think and by cross questioning yourself you will arrive at a answer which will be your answer. Not spoon feded by others. Question is whether you are interested in solving your problem or do you want a ready-made solution. – sudip May 11 at 19:59
  • Compassion starts with self-compassion so fear seems an odd reaction. Perhaps you could have more compassion for your fear. . . . . – PeterJ May 16 at 12:16
  • what are you thinking in this meditation? Is it about a person? And also where Buddha has adviced to practice this meditation. – follower Jun 13 at 1:39
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1) Is there any way to bypass this obstacle to meditation?

2) Is there anything in Buddhist literature about fearing/aversion to compassion?

3) Is there anything to suggest some memories or karma may surface in meditation, or even simply other inner contents?

Beginning with the third question, the most effective meditation to start with is that which brings up repressed or subconscious thoughts and feelings and gets rid of them. (Bodhidharma called this cleaning house.) Anything thought that makes you uncomfortable can help you to identify these negative feelings. Once you identify a negative feeling towards someone, use Lester Levenson's Release Technique to let go of it, and then change it to a feeling of love. While the Contemplation on the Four Sublime States has you begin with people you care about, I think it's better to do the opposite. Make a list of everyone you dislike, beginning with those you dislike the most. Go down the list and work on loving each person in order; don't move on until you feel only love for each. Do this daily until you feel love for everyone. Jeffery Martin calls this the Lester Levenson Love Exercise.

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Brahma Vihara (Metta, Karuna, and Mudita) should be practiced in conjunction with Upekkha. There is a near enemy and far enemy of Karuna. Generally, you should contemplate on Anicca Dukkha and Anatta. Please read the following article.https://dhammawiki.com/index.php/4_Brahma_Viharas#Near_enemies_and_Far_enemies_of_Brahma_Viharas

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If we were to spread a bucket of clean water (i.e., metta) about the garden, it would bring joy to all. If we were to spread a bucket of filthy, smelly, contaminated water about the garden, we would hestitate, hold back the harm.

Or if we had resentment in our hearts towards some people, we would struggle to aim the bucket of clean water that way but not this way. We would exhaust ourselves in our stingy dispensation of clean water, struggling in resentment.

Resentment, ill-will and anger are toxic. If we hold these unwholesome things in our hearts, then we can't really invite others into our hearts without a little house-cleaning.

Consider the mildest of these, which is resentment. AN9.30 explains how to get rid of resentment.

Nine methods to get rid of resentment. Thinking: ‘They did wrong to me, but what can I possibly do?’ you get rid of resentment. Thinking: ‘They are doing wrong to me …’ … ‘They will do wrong to me …’ … ‘They did wrong by someone I love …’ … ‘They are doing wrong by someone I love …’ … ‘They will do wrong by someone I love …’ … ‘They helped someone I dislike …’ … ‘They are helping someone I dislike …’ … Thinking: ‘They will help someone I dislike, but what can I possibly do?’ you get rid of resentment.

This list of considerations is remarkable in its opposition to commonly held world views that uphold retribution as justified (e.g., witness the proliferation of revenge movies.)

Suppose we are driving with metta and someone cuts us off in traffic or honks their horn at us. At that very moment, metta tends to fly out of our hands as they clench into fists and our hearts fill with resentment. If we have any "chips on our shoulders", metta meditation is impossible. First we have to get rid of the resentment.

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