Metta: The Loving Kindness Meditation

The first time I did the Loving Kindness Meditation, I thought it was hokey. A bit like sending hopes and prayers out into the universe.

The Metta meditation asks that we begin to share benevolent thoughts for others and ourselves. Taking a few minutes to quiet ourselves with some breathing and mindfulness, we consider some simple phrases:

May you be safe…
May you be healthy…
May you be happy…
May you live with ease and grace.

We begin the practice by bringing up an image of a friend or person in my life. They may be someone I spent recently with or think may need support. In my mind, I repeat those phrases imagining that I send those thoughts and words out to that person.

Next, I might think of someone I deeply love. I repeat the phrases, pausing to experience and feel those messages deeply for that person.

Then, I consider someone who can be challenging for me. I don’t think of someone I despise but someone with whom I want a better way to connect. Sending these loving ideas to them usually helps me feel closer and more connected to them.

Not to forget myself, I like to finish Loving Kindness by sharing those same thoughts with myself. It leaves me feeling refreshed and appreciative of those people important to me and my connection with nature. 

Metta also invites us to send loving kindness to all beings. One day when doing the meditation outside, the sounds of the birds singing helped me connect with all these beautiful living entities with whom I share the world.   I started to get sharing Metta that day. Considering that the birds feeding nearby could live their life easily helped me see the value of pausing and reflecting on my capacity to bring more comfort and kindness to people close to me and myself.

The Metta Meditation is one I practice several times a week, now.

I don’t know whether I am changing them, but I know I am changing myself.

Note: I’ll be posting a Metta Meditation next week, so check it out.

© Richard Citrin 2023

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