Life is short and we have not too much time
for gladdening the hearts of those
who are traveling the dark way with us.
Oh, be swift to love! Make haste to be kind.
~ Henri-Frederic Amiel
Welcome to Metta Refuge! My name is Steven Goodheart, and I have been deeply involved with spirituality and spiritual healing for over 40 years. I make no special claim for myself; I’m not a teacher or monk. I’m just a fellow traveller who wants to share with you from his heart and life.
Although I started out as as a Christian, I eventually found a new home and path in the teachings of the Buddha. My “heart teacher” is Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. In 2002, at Stonehill College in Massachusetts, I Took the Three Refuges and the Five Mindfulness Training Oaths with him.
As I have grown in my practice and understanding, I have also been greatly blessed and helped by spiritual teachers of various traditions and schools: Zen teacher such as Cherie Huber, Joko Beck, Seung Sahn, John Daido Loori, and Ezra Bayda. I have found tremendous skillfulness in the teachings of Theravadan monks Thanissaro Bhikkhu and Ajahn Chah. Tibetan teachers such as Pema Chodron and Lama Shenpen Hookham have been a great inspiration to my life and practice. I have also been helped by the insights of the great Indian sage, Sri Aurobindo, the Russian Christian existentialist, Nikolai Berdyaev, the integral teachings and philosophy of Ken Wilber, the “pathless path” of J. Krishnamurti, and the “Diamond Approach” of A. H. Almaas.
Perhaps most of all, however, I have been blessed by the thousands and thousands of “teachers” I’ve met throughout my life—all the amazing people I’ve met and known—some wise, some foolish, some loving, some hateful, some inspiring, some infuriating. I have come to feel that every person we meet is a kind of living koan, if only we are mindful enough to recognize what they have to teach us. What’s more, if we look deeply into others—and into our heart’s deepest response to others—we will recognize that the “guru” in others is also the “guru” in us. Namaste!
I am convinced from my own practice that anyone can be helped and even healed by the power of loving-kindness, called metta, or maitri, in Buddhism. And while I hope to share what I’ve learned in the Buddhist practice of metta, clearly, one doesn’t have to be a Buddhist to practice loving-kindness! The power of loving-kindness transcends all belief or non-belief in God, Christ, Buddha, or Brahman and can be found in people of every faith, as well as those of no faith. What matters is our heart and the deepest, loving intent of our heart. Happily, the innate goodness and potential to love in every human heart are greater than any disbelief the human mind may have about the power of love. A greater ability to love, in other words, is something we can cultivate and nurture through loving-kindness, or metta, practice
So again, welcome! May Metta Refuge Blog be a place of refuge and comfort for you. May it be a place where you can learn and help develop new skills in meditation and mindfulness and loving-kindness. May it always be a place where heart speaks to heart openly and without fear or judgment. May our encounters, however brief, always be meaningful. And may we always meet and part in loving-kindness and friendship!
“When understood, the Buddha’s universe..is anything but alien and inhibiting. It is a world full of hope, where everything we need to do can be done and everything that matters is within human reach. It is a world where kindness, unselfishness, non-violence, and compassion achieve what self-interest and arrogance cannot. It is a world where any human can be happy in goodness and the fullness of giving.” — Eknath Easwaran
“The benefits of loving-kindness practice extend far beyond those who meditate. It offers to all the opportunity to kind selflessness, joy, adaptability, and expansiveness. It is a truly universal practice and need not be associated with any particular religious concept.” — Gregory Kramer “Seeding the Heart: Loving-kindness Practice with Children”
“In most of us, the desire for love has often been distorted or buried, but if you look at your own life with honest and gentle eyes, you can discern it in yourself as a deep seeking of connectedness, healing, creation, and joy. This is your true identity, it is who you really are and what you exist for.” — Gerald May “The Awakened Heart”