Well, I did it. I practiced metta every day for a month. I wasn’t really sure what (if anything) to expect, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised. On the macro level, I feel that my capacity to love those close to me has definitely increased. Also, my attitude towards certain politicians has softened a bit. I can’t say I agree with their policies, but I have leaned to recognize that they too are human beings and that they want to be happy just like me.
On a more personal level, I noticed some new physical sensations after doing metta for a couple of weeks. First of all, during most sits, I began to feel a warmth in the area of my heart which would gradually expand outward to fill my entire body as I continued to repeat the phrases. I am someone who lives mostly in my own head, so having a felt sense of loving-kindness in my body was a welcome surprise. The other thing worth noting (and this only happened once during the entire month), was that I felt something akin to a layer of “armor” around my heart dissolving/shattering. I did some reading about this experience, and apparently although the physical sensation is similar to what one feels during a heart attack, what is really happening is that the heart is opening and becoming more receptive.
This morning, when I returned to my normal practice of observing the breath and mentally noting distractions, I felt much more centered and concentrated than I remember feeling before my month of metta. I would highly recommend to anyone that is feeling stuck in their practice that they change things up for a little bit and give metta a chance to crack open your heart.