I’ve been living and working in NYC for 3 months now and I’m still not quite used to it. It’s a place of amazing chaos and stimulation. Unfortunately, my brain doesn’t work well with noise and frenzy andthe visual assaults of such a large, vibrant city. I’ve been thinking about different things I can do to lower stress and find some calm in the urban storm.
The other day, tired and slightly grouchy, I stood on the subway car, swaying with the motion and closed my eyes. I said Metta for myself.
May I be happy. May I be Healthy. May I be free from physical pain. May I be free from mental pain. May I live my life with ease.
And I began to realize that even when I have not said this prayer for weeks or months, as soon as I begin, I can feel my body relax into it. I challenged myself to say it on each subway ride and to choose to include the most annoying of my fellow riders. Last night, I was on the train coming home after a fun evening of The Moth. I happened to catch the train in the Village with handfuls of Halloween revelers including a woman riding solo. She was right next to me in a very crowded train. She was drunk. She began talking loudly in a confrontational way about the various people surrounding her. Commenting on people’s perfumes, clothing and perceived promiscuity. She was looking for a fight. Everyone ignored her. I began reciting Metta, silently. I wished her peace and happiness. I wished her a safe passage home. I wished her ease and freedom from her irritations. I wished her freedom from the fear of suffering. Over and over for the 20 minute ride, I wished things for her. It was very calming to me and I have to believe that all that love I sent her did some good.