Contentment is a muscle, actually it’s a system of muscles like your back. But this muscle produces thoughts. Strangely enough, there is a muscle that weakens the contentment muscle that also produces thought: wanting other people’s stuff (covetousness). Now you can use this muscle to replace covetousness to good effect, most of the time, but it can be used to apply to covetousness – I am content with this covetousness – That will be bad, avoid it strenuously. Contentment seems to feed equanimity. If you get that wrong, you get not caring or laziness or both. Contentment with ill will is equally disastrous.
Goodwill is a muscle, this one seems to be a singular muscle to me. It likewise produces thought. Its foil is ill will. Exercising it is called metta bhavena (literally goodwill creation, the usual English is loving kindness meditation)
Kindness is probably a muscle, I just haven’t found it yet. It likewise produces thought. Its foil is hurtfulness which also gives rise to thought. I have now taught you the 3 pairs of ways to give rise to thought. One of each pair should be cultivated, the other should not be cultivated. This teaching is from MN 114 I will conclude with my, current as of posting, list of metta bhavena mantras.
May all beings live skillfully and wholesomely and have the causes of future happiness.
May all beings be free from self harm.
May all beings be free from internal and external ill will.
May all beings seen and unseen, near and far, be blamelessly happy, may we all know the causes of true happiness, and be willing and able to act on the knowledge.
in gladness and in safety may all beings be at ease.
May all beings be wholesomely happy.
May all beings be skillfully happy.
May all beings be blamelessly happy.
May no being deceive another anywhere for any reason.
May no beings despise another anywhere for any reason.
May all beings give up killing living creatures.
May all beings give up stealing.
May all beings give up sexual misconduct of any sort.
May all beings give up lying may we all speak the truth all the time.
May all beings give up divisive speech, may we keep secret what we know if it would divide beings apart. Instead, may we reconcile those who are divided, supporting unity, delighting in harmony, loving harmony, speaking words that promote harmony.
May all beings give up harsh speech, instead may we speak in a way that’s mellow, pleasing to the ear, lovely, going to the heart, polite, likable and agreeable to people.
May all beings give up talking nonsense. May our words be timely, true, and meaningful, in line with the teaching and training. May we say things at the right time which are valuable, reasonable, succinct, and beneficial.
May all beings think things like ‘May these sentient beings live free of enmity and ill will, untroubled and happy!’
May all beings give rise to thought with a heart full of contentment, goodwill, and kindness.
May all beings acquire perception with contentment, goodwill, and kindness
May all beings believe that there is meaning in giving, sacrifice, and offerings.
May all beings believe that there are fruits and results of good and bad deeds.
May all beings believe that there are duties to mother and father.
May all beings believe that there are beings reborn spontaneously
May all beings believe that there is an afterlife.
May all beings believe that there are wise people who are well attained and practiced, and who describe the afterlife after realizing it with their own insight.
May all beings cultivate themselves in a way that causes unskillful qualities to decline while skillful qualities grow.