Metta Meditation with a Kitten

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Extract “Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond” (A Meditator’s Handbook) by Ajahn Brahm
Front Cover
Page 66
“I prepare myself for metta meditation by grounding my mindfulness in the present moment, establishing stage one of the meditation method described in chapter 1. Then I initiate metta meditation by imagining a little kitten. I like cats, especially kittens, so my imaginary kitten is to loving-kindness as gas is to a flame. I only need to think of my little kitten and my heart lights up with metta. I continue to visualize my imaginary friend, picturing it as abandoned, hungry, and very afraid. In its short span of life it has only known rejection, violence, and loneliness. I imagine its bones sticking out from its emaciated body, its fur soiled with grime and some blood, and its body rigid with terror. I consider that if I don’t care for this vulnerable little being then no one will, and it will die such a horrible, lonely, terrified death. I feel that kitten’s pain fully, in all its forms, and my heart opens up releasing a flood of compassion. I will care for that little kitten. I will protect it and feed it. I imagine myself looking deeply into its anxious eyes, trying to melt its apprehension with the metta flowing through my own eyes.I reach out to it slowly, reassuring, never losing eye contact. Gently, I pick up that little kitten and bring it to my chest. I remove the kitten’s cold with the warmth from my own body, I take away its fear with the softness of my embrace, and I feel the kitten’s trust grow. I speak to the kitten on my chest: “Little being, never feel alone again. Never feel so afraid. I will always look after you, be your protector and friend. I love you, little kitten. Wherever you go, whatever you do, my heart will always welcome you. I give you my limitless loving-kindness always. ” I feel my kitten become warm, relax, and finally purr.

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