The next part of the Mettā sutta describes a form of blessing. It is a wish, not a demand; we recognize the place in our heart that wishes others well, and we give it space and encouragement to grow into our central desire.
… wishing: In gladness and in safety, may all beings be at ease. Whatever living beings there may be, whether they are weak or strong, omitting none; the great or the mighty, medium, short or small; the seen and the unseen; those living near and far away; those born and to-be-born; may all beings be at ease.
The aspect of mettā being emphasized here is its universality. We can cultivate mettā for a particular person or situation, but here we establish an intention to exclude no one.
It’s not clear whether our scope of concern is all sentient beings or all beings of any kind. It may be simplest to first think of all human beings, since that is the category we tend to divide up into “us and them”, or at least those we consider deserving and those we think are not.
If our heart is open, then mettā radiates as if we were a glowing furnace. The heat is not directed at any individual more or less than any other; whatever the intensity of the energy, it isn’t impeded by any judgment or preference. Even people with various forms of power, with whom we might strenuously disagree – they are included as well.
If we can start by imagining a form of love that is indiscriminate, that is unbounded and endless, then we can build on that feeling. If we can set aside (temporarily) all forms of clinging, then the sublime mental state of mettā is available to us. It is a type of super-power; it can penetrate our doubts about ourselves and our aversions to others.
Sometimes we find it difficult to experience mettā even when we want to. Rather than force the issue, we can repeat some phrases that have meaning for us to help us remember our intention. For example:
May I be well, may I be happy,
May I be free from harm and suffering.
May all of my good purposes be fulfilled.
If it’s easier, we can direct our good wishes towards a specific person: “May s/he be well…” etc.
Eventually, this can be expanded to all beings: “May all beings be well, …” etc.
For clarification, the last line refers to all of our good spiritual purposes. It’s not about fulfilling any material desires or plans, but about purifying the heart and all the beneficial actions and words that come as a result.