METTA EARTH institute

A Center for Contemplative Ecology

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Metta Practices

Metta Practices

DANA ~ A Metta Practice

Metta Earth Institute Practices

Dana: generosity of spirit; the art of giving without thought of reward. Just as the earth extends her generosity each moment and asks nothing of us in return, so, too, do each of us have the capacity to act, speak, and think with an open-hearted and giving spirit. We can give openly to one another – friends and strangers as well as to the 10,000 things of which we are part. Practicing and finding fulfillment in such unconditional giving over time might reverse the pattern to consume and take so much from earth, from one another, and from other nations and peoples. Dana is a practice that also might reverse a culture of entitlement.


  • Plant something, a tree, an herb, a flower, a row of vegetables. If you have no yard, nurture and sing to a potted plant. Do so regularly.
  • Volunteer for or donate to an organization with a similarly giving spirit such as an animal sanctuary, a food pantry, a community garden, a program such as Habitat For Humanity, or the Green Yoga Association.
  • Send someone an anonymous note of praise, a poem, flowers or unsigned card. (We might call this gesture the “Amelie effect” from the delightful French film Amelie produced a few years ago.)
  • Build or put up a bat box (In the Northeast, tens of thousands of hibernating brown bats mysteriously died this winter).
  • Give someone who needs it a free Yoga class, or hold a regular free or by-donation Yoga class.
  • Extend the same unconditional generosity that you give to distant acquaintances or plants or bats to the people most intimate with you who may otherwise “push your buttons.”
  • Catch yourself thinking that you are entitled to receive something in return when you offer someone or the earth or the universe something – be it a gift or a prayer.

*Reprinted from “Prana” the Green Yoga Association e-newsletter by Jeff Davis, Green Yoga Association Council member and friend of Metta Earth. Visit his website,

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