Metta in a Group Ritual of Touch

October 27, 2009

This touch ritual is based on the Buddhist idea of metta, which means lovingkindness.  In the standard metta meditation, one uses phrases to focus loving thoughts toward first one’s self, then toward a friend, then toward a neutral person, and then toward a person for whom one feels antagonism.  In this ritual one uses touch rather than thoughts.

For the ritual, there should be one facilitator for every six or seven participants – and there should be an even number of participants so that each participant can have a partner

This ritual begins with all persons except the facilitators putting on blindfolds.  Then everyone takes off their clothes.  In the first part, participants are directed to give themselves loving touch.  The touch is not genitally focused, but that area is not avoided.

After ten or fifteen minutes of touch, the facilitators move the participants so that they are each facing a partner.  The participants visualize their partner as a close friend, and give touch as if they were giving it to that friend.

After ten or fifteen minutes of touch, the facilitators move the participants to new partners.  The task is now to visualize the partner as a neutral person, but to give the same quality of loving touch.

After ten or fifteen minutes of touch, the facilitators move the participants to new partners.  This time, the task is to visualize someone who is disliked and yet give that person the same quality of loving touch.

At the end, the blindfolds are removed and there is a time for discussing the feelings that have come up during this ritual.

The ritual could be done without removing clothing, but when I led it it was in a context of a week exploring erotic spirituality, and those in the group had already worked together while naked.

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