This is definitely one of my favourite meditations because it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, while spreading a loving energy to those around you and the world. The Loving Kindness meditation is also known as Metta meditation. Metta means unconditional kindness, friendliness and good will to all. This style of meditation originates from Buddhist teachings, especially Tibetan Buddhism. “Compassion meditation” is a modern scientific field that validates the effectiveness of Metta and other meditation techniques.
Love to the Universe
The Loving Kindness meditation does not require you to focus exclusively on your breath like many others. Instead it relies on kind thoughts first aimed at yourself and then towards others and finally to the universe. This meditation is also simple enough for beginners and is a way for you to truly discover the joy of meditation. This is because the more you practice this meditation, the more joy you will experience overall.
Self-Compassion and Joy
Metta meditation is great for people who tend to be too hard on themselves or on others. It is beneficial for both selfless and selfish individuals and can even help to improve your relationships. It will increase your general level of happiness, because you cannot feel loving kindness and negative emotions at the same time. It is a proven way to boost empathy, positivity, self-acceptance and kindness towards other. Buddhist teachers even insist that it is a cure for insomnia, nightmares or anger issues.
How to Practice Loving Kindness Meditation
Step 1: Choose an environment conducive to mediation that is quiet, cool and where you feel relaxed and comfortable.
Step 2: Sit on a cushion, the floor, or a chair, with your hands on your knees facing up or down. Sit up straight with your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears. Ensure that your back is supported if necessary, it is important to be comfortable during this meditation.
Step 3: Close your eyes and begin to focus your attention towards your solar plexus, your chest area or “heart centre”. Breathe in and out from this area as if you are breathing directly from your heart centre; as if your full experience is happening there.
Step 4: Breathing in and out from this area and focusing on your heart allows you to start generating feelings of kindness and love within yourself.
Step 5: Once you have gathered this feeling within yourself, start to focus on sending these feelings towards yourself. Next think of a person who you love unconditionally, then begin to send these thoughts and feelings of love and kindness towards that person.
Step 6: Next think about a neutral person who you know but do not have strong positive or negative feelings towards. Send the feelings of love and kindness towards this person. From here think about a person who you have a difficult relationship with and there may be some negativity towards this person, use the love and kindness that you have generated for yourself and others and send it towards this person to overcome the negativity.
Step 7: Finally use all this generated loving power and send it out towards the universe and all other beings.
Guidelines for Loving Kindness Meditation
- The idea behind this practice is to be as comfortable as possible, use your breath and focus on your heart centre as a way to develop thoughts of wishing happiness and well-being towards all others.
- Anchor your mindfulness only on the sensations of your heart centre.
- Remember that the progression is important and should always start within yourself, moving on from there to others and eventually to the universe in general.
- You can use visualization/ imagery and mental pictures in order to arouse feelings of loving-kindness towards yourself and others.
- You can also use the practice of reflecting about the positive aspects of yourself and others to develop these feelings.
- Lastly you can repeat a positive phrase or mantra continuously to stimulate your auditory senses and this is usually the simplest way to generate these feelings.
- This meditation generally takes about 10 minutes to complete, but it is recommended that you spend more time on each stage of the process to get the most out of this technique.
“Kindness is within our power, even when fondness is not”
~ The 14th Dalai Lama