Responding to Common Issues

Some common issues that might arise include:

  1. Difficulty in seeing goodness in others
  2. The arising of opposite feelings
  3. The arising of random memories or other thoughts
  4. Disappointment at not getting expected results

Please see the following expert advice addressing these issues.

When It’s Difficult to See Goodness in Others

Sometimes it’s difficult to see goodness in others… If this is the case, we can remind ourselves that all beings are seeking to be happy just as we are and feel some connection with them in this common struggle. Guilt is another barrier to Metta practice. Guilt has an element of self-hatred in it, it drains energy, it paralyzes us. Remorse is freeing, we forgive ourselves for the harm we have done to self or others and use the freed energy to work to improve ourselves, make sure we don’t repeat the offense. We need all of our energy if we’re to overcome our unskillful habits especially aversion and hatred. We need to move from the trap of guilt to the freedom of remorse; forgive ourselves and move on. – 

When Opposite Feelings Arise

Sometimes during loving-kindness meditation, seemingly opposite feelings such as anger, grief, or sadness may arise. Take these to be signs that your heart is softening, revealing what is held there. You can either shift to mindfulness practice or you can—with whatever patience, acceptance, and kindness you can muster for such feelings—direct loving-kindness toward them. Above all, remember that there is no need to judge yourself for having these feelings. – Metta Institute 

More On Stuff Coming Up

Sometimes random memories or repressed, shameful moments from my past would surface during my practice. Memories of my anxious pre-teen days surfaced, or how I might not have been as loving as I would have liked in interactions with family and friends. I tried to focus on the offering of love, to forgive myself and to let go of the memory as a reminder that it no longer served me in the present moment. – Samantha Trueheart