I would call Metta World Peace an alchemist, except there was nothing magical about the hard work he did to transform his troubles into triumph with the help of therapy, meditation, yoga. He stepped out of where he came from into where he truly wanted to go without abandoning his roots and his friends. Metta knew how to harness the energies that served his goals but he had to learn to work with the emotions that could not. How he found the courage to believe in himself and use his experience to help others is a compelling story, one that is ultimately about love – metta, lovingkindess. I transcribed and edited these words from a meditation video Metta made with WE RISE in May, 2020:
“When I was a younger kid, emotions would get the best of me, and didn’t have the tools to understand how to deal with the emotions. When a controversy is about to happen – how do you ‘take five’ to make a good decision? On the basketball court, if you let your emotions get the best of you, you’re not going to be focused on the task at hand. I started to really take on meditation, therapy, yoga and other holistic approaches so I could always be relaxed and calm…Meditation is very important & all these tools were essential for me having a successful NBA career.
In 2011, I changed my name to Metta World Peace. My name is inspired by Buddhism, by people being supportive of me and walking with me down this path of trying to find myself. I wanted to reach back and be part of something that I was as a child, in the purest form. Metta (lovingkindness) was something I really wanted to accomplish, the same way you have goals on the court….I’m very proud that I had the opportunity to have the exposure to meditation, therapy, yoga, and my singing bowl … If more people had these tools, when something is going wrong, there’s something you can fall back on if you’re feeling depressed or you have a lot of anxiety…meditation and yoga I really love. I still meditate. I talk with my therapist to this day when I need to. Metta World Peace is a place for me to go when I feel my emotions are getting the best of me. Meditate, soak it in, stay in the moment, stay present.”
It’s a joy to invite you to InsightLA’s annual benefit, a day of teachings and practices to see you through hard times and holidays. At 5, I’ll have the honor of speaking with Metta and my friend Lily Dulan. We’re excited that Lily is launching her new book on Saturday, Giving Grief Meaning. Lily and Metta each discovered their own way to transform loss and grief into compassion and peace. Both Lily and Metta embody Hamlet’s wisdom, “To thine own self be true” – and with a bit of metta and mindfulness, you can, too!