During one of today’s sessions I was finding it hard to feel into metta and karuna for others so, rather than attempt to force myself into care and compassion, I decided to turn the light of the brahmaviharas back on myself. I began by using the traditional, Pali phrases for the brahmaviharas and did a round on my 36 bead mala reciting “May I be happy (Aham sukhito homi).” Next I moved onto the phrase “Avero homi” which I have usually understood as “May I be free from aversion” or, alternately, “May I be free from enmity.”
Now, I am sure I have discussed some of the various problems I have encountered due to the different possible interpretation of the phrases and this one in particular but I have never yet found a satisfying middle ground. Today, for the first time, I feel that I stumbled on to a connection that may have been pretty apparent to everyone on the planet except for me and which is simply this: the “Avero homi” phrase speaks both to inner and outer manifestations of aversion. I stumbled upon this understanding by simply repeating alternative versions like so: “May I be free of anger and enmity.” Of course, now that I write it, the phrase simply fails to convey the shock that rocked my heart when I realized that one cannot have outer enemies without having aversion in own’s own mind.