Metta Meditation for Loving Kindness
When one first begins meditation, it may not be obvious that there are many, many types of meditation. As we've been discussing this month (National Mediation Month) in our blogs, one of the most immediately apparent benefits of meditation is that you just feel better. Moods become elevated and people feel better equipped to take on the challenges of everyday life. Today I'd love to discuss one type of meditation that can be used daily to begin to connect with others on a deeper level. This meditation is called Metta Meditation, or loving kindness meditation.
Metta is a word in Pali, the language of the original Buddha, and it means benevolence, loving-kindness, friendliness, amity, good will, and active interest in others. The benefits are widespread and include building a stronger sense of self-love, a greater amount of forgiveness toward loved ones, building compassion for strangers, and establishing a sense of oneness across humanity. As you can imagine, if everyone in this world worked to establish each of these traits, we would be living in a paradise!
In order to best introduce you to Metta Meditation, I've written down a script that includes the various steps we include when sitting on a mat. The specific words I write down are not as important as the process and the process works best when you are able to really visualize each step. Because of this, I recommend reading through the entire script and then sit down and mentally take this meditation part by part. If you only have 5-10 minutes, spend just a minute or two on each step before moving on. If you have more time, you can allow the mind to spend as much time as it requires to begin to process each piece. I hope you enjoy this process and that it quickly begins to help you find all the benefits described!
Begin by sitting in a comfortable way, whether that be on a chair, on a bolster, or on the floor. Allow the spine to be upright with the hands comfortably on the knees. As you close the eyes, take a moment to begin to focus on the breath. Allow the inhales and the exhales to be long, comfortable, and full. Begin to feel the heart rate calming down. Begin to sense the muscles and the mind approaching a serene place where the state of meditation is possible. As you begin this meditation, release all control over the breath, simply letting the breath flow in and out at a natural rhythm.
PART 1: SELF
Now begin to imagine