A message from your coach - Uma
I have mentioned previously the challenges that most practitioners have in the initial stages are radiating loving-kindness to people that they find difficult.
For some practitioners, the section that is devoted to oneself can prove the most challenging of all.
For some practitioners, as they embark on this journey, their starting place may include a poor self-image or feelings of not deserving or not being worthy of receiving loving-kindness.
It may feel embarrassing or even vain to be working on oneself in this way, especially if you are used to always putting others first.
In following the Buddhist pathway, you are not allowed to overlook your well-being. Buddhists do not believe in sacrificing anyone, and that includes oneself, for the benefit of another.
They view this notion being equivalent to wishing damage and suffering upon oneself, they understand that ALL sentient beings deserve metta and that all sentient beings want to be free from suffering.
That includes you
When you practice, you will likely focus on a small circle of people for the different sections of the meditation. It can be useful to have a plan before you sit for meditation of who these people will be.
That way, you can rotate groups of people so that no one person becomes an archetype or symbol for that section of the practice. Your development comes from being flexible, so regularly change who you radiate metta to.
Having said that you don’t need to choose someone new every time. The idea is that you don’t end up always associating the same person to one specific section.
This is why it’s vital to give each section of the meditation your equal attention when you practice.
You should aim to spend as much time on those beings to whom it is easy to radiate metta to as it is to those you find more challenging.
In time those challenges will melt away.