Loving Kindness Meditation - Discover an Ancient Buddhist Meditation Technique for Cultivating Boundless Love, Compassion and Bliss in Life!
Loving Kindness meditation or Metta (as it is called in Pali language) is an excellent Buddhist meditation technique for developing compassion. Regardless of any religious affiliations, it can be practiced by anyone as it is a technique of cultivating love and compassion.
The Metta meditation
was given to the world by Buddha. He said that "hatred cannot coexist with Loving Kindness. It dissipates when supplanted with thoughts based on Loving Kindness."
Loving Kindness meditation is the development of unconditional or selfless love. It does not restrict itself to family and friends, or whether someone deserves it or not, but it extends itself out towards all living beings.
The practice of Metta meditation opens deeper layers of kindness, care, tenderness, concern, friendship and warm feeling towards ourselves and others.
Guided Loving Kindness Meditation Technique
Sit in a comfortable but erect posture. Be relaxed. Take a few deep breaths. Bring a gentle smile on your face to make the meditation a joyful experience.
Start focusing on the chest area around the solar plexus. It is your "heart center". Bring your awareness towards the sensations arising at your heart center.
There are 6 stages in the practice of Loving Kindness or Metta meditation -
1) Loving Kindness Starts With You
Continue to breathe gently. You can use either these phrases or make slight variations as per your choice. You can say them or mentally repeat them a few times.
May I be free from harm -- inner and outer.
May I be safe and protected.
May I be happy and free of mental suffering and distress.
May I be strong and healthy, and free of suffering and physical pain.
May I live in this world peacefully, happily, with joy and ease.
Observe how your heart responds to your suggestions. Continue with the practice gradually and there is no need to hurry. Experience the warmth of your loving intention spread towards your whole body. Enjoy the bliss that slowly fills your heart.
2) Loved One or Benefactor
Next, you can move the practice of Loving Kindness towards the person whom you look up as a person of unconditional love -- who loves you and others without the expectation of getting anything back.
It could be your mentor, someone elder, a benefactor, a parent, teacher, grandparent or guru -- someone for whom you have reverence and respect naturally. Bring their face or picture in your mind and repeat the above phrases for this person - "may he/she be safe and protected...."
3) Your Good Friend
After having strong and unconditional love toward the benefactor, now you can repeat the phrases and feeling of Loving Kindness towards a person whom you regard as your dear friend.
4) The Neutral Person
Next, you can repeat the above phrases and generate feeling of tenderness and loving care towards a neutral person -- someone with whom you neither have a strong feeling of like nor dislike.
5) The Difficult Person
After this, you can repeat the above phrases for someone with whom you have hostile feelings and resentments; someone who provokes rather unfriendly feelings within you.
It might be difficult to have a feeling of Loving Kindness towards people whom you dislike. If feelings of ill will arise and it becomes difficult to continue the practice, you can return to the benefactor and arise the feeling of Loving Kindness again. Then you can return back to this person.
Allow the phrases to spread throughout your body, heart and mind. Observe the feeling of bliss that arises by letting go of animosity and ill-will towards others.
6) All Living Beings
Next, you can generate the feeling of Loving Kindness towards all living beings. You can use these phrases or a variation of these --
May all beings be happy, safe, healthy and lead a joyful life.
May all living beings be happy, safe, healthy and lead a joyful life.
May all breathing beings be happy, safe, healthy and lead a joyful life.
May all individuals be happy, safe, healthy and lead a joyful life.
May all beings and creatures in existence be happy, safe, healthy and lead a joyful life.
Make use of your imagination and stay with this feeling of Loving Kindness towards all beings - till you have a feeling of profound interconnectedness with all living creatures and life.
Next, you can take the Loving Kindness meditation practice towards specific living beings:
- All awakened ones and all seekers
- All the celestial beings
- All humans
- All animals
- All other beings that are in difficult places
- All beings in different planes of existence -- known or unknown
Gently come back to the rhythm of your breath. Be a bit more aware of your surroundings. Open your eyes slowly and enjoy the state of well-being for a few moments.
Additional ResourcesLoving Kindness
Meditation - An Overview of Loving-kindness Meditation by Venerable Pannyavaro of BuddhaNet. In depth information on the practice of Metta meditation.