Metta is a word from Pali, the language of the Buddha's teachings, which is translated as loving-kindness or loving-friendliness. A common practice in Buddhism is to establish Metta towards oneself, and then outwards towards other people, and eventually towards all beings in ever-widening circles.
A few days ago while doing a half-day meditation retreat, an interesting visual cropped up: a water balloon filled with Metta. The difference being that instead of getting soaked with cold water, when hit with a Metta balloon one would be soaked in the warm feelings of contentment, health, and peace.
So I began to imagine throwing these balloons at the other people in the retreat. SPLAT! To the people walking next to me. SPLAT! To the monks leading the retreat. SPLAT! To all of the people present that day.
Then I started thinking of some people I was having difficulties with. SPLAT! A Metta balloon right at them. Until eventually in my mind, there were Metta balloons being thrown "above and below, around and everywhere".
Puerile? Perhaps. But I remained in a quiet state of joy for the rest of the retreat and onward. As I've walked and driven around my neighborhood, I've continued throwing Metta balloons at all and sundry. It's been rather fun, and so I'm sharing it with you.
SPLAT! You've been hit with a Metta balloon!