Loving Kindness meditation

The Description of the Loving Kindness Meditation

Metta Bhavana is the name of meditation in Pali, a language that is already 2,500 years old. The meditation is practised by the Buddhists, especially often it can be found in Thai monasteries and retreat centres.

“Metta” means love, friendliness or kindness. Simply speaking, it's loving-kindness. This is a feeling that you feel with your heart.

“Bhavana” means development or cultivation.

Loving Kindness meditation is a practice aimed at developing comprehensive love, empathy, compassion, and friendliness towards oneself, other people, and all living creatures on Earth and in the universe.

During meditation, we focus on one person or a group of people, think about their positive qualities, and direct our thoughts filled with loving-kindness to them. We develop positive emotions in ourselves and transmit these emotions to others.

Loving-kindness can be compared to what we feel when we watch kittens or puppies play. Or what we feel when small children smile at us.

Loving kindness meditation is a very important tool for getting rid of anger or hatred inside us. Even anger, one of the strongest emotions, melts under the rays of loving-kindness. Anger and hatred are just feelings that come and go, and they always begin with hurting ourselves. When we are angry at someone, that person may not even know about it, but we have already fallen into the trap of our feelings. Loving kindness meditation is very useful for reducing anger and hatred and can serve as a good remedy for healing from these unpleasant states of mind.

In order to feel loving-kindness, you need to imagine something visually pleasing. For example, the smile of a small child, kittens or puppies playing with each other.

How to do the meditation: steps

The most basic practice described in the literature on Buddhism consists of five steps:

First, it’s the encouragement of loving feelings towards oneself. We should always begin doing loving kindness meditation with directing good thoughts to ourselves. Only when we love and accept ourselves as we are will we be able to extend loving kindness to others.

Second, direct your feelings to people you love or feel positive about. For example, parents, children, or friends. Picture an image of a person you love and care about in your mind.

Third, direct loving feelings towards people you respect or admire – these maybe your teachers or patrons. Focus on someone who has been kind to you and helped you.

Fourth, direct your feelings to people you treat indifferently or neutrally. It may be someone you know but don’t have any special feelings for, for example, a salesman in a store.

And finally, think of the people who made your life complicated. People who may have caused you pain or you find it hard to communicate with.

Now, get in a comfortable position and close your eyes.

Slowly take a few deep breaths to relax and calm your body and mind. Imagine a small child smiling at you, kittens clumsily playing with each other, or anything else that brings pleasant and positive emotions.

Next, remember the sensations of the morning, the gently warming sun, which is not scorching yet. Imagine how the sun shines not only on you, but gives warmth and light to everything – living and inanimate, all people, animals, plants all over the world.

Then, imagine yourself as this warm, warming sun with rays of loving-kindness extending in all directions. And start radiating this energy.

1. Imagine smiling at yourself. Picture yourself as a small and beloved child or as a present-day you with a heart full of loving kindness. Or remember a time when you were happy. Sincerely wish yourself something good, feel this wish in your heart, and then start radiating it. Repeat slowly and calmly to yourself:

May I be happy and prosperous,

Free from all suffering,

Protected from all dangers and diseases.

May I be in peace and serenity,

May my mind be free from anger, greed, and ignorance.

May my heart be filled with love,

And my mind finds peace.

Align these words with your images. Find the exact phrases that fully reflect your heart full of kindness. By repeating these phrases over and over again, let the feelings penetrate into your body and mind.

Do not strain or force yourself. Just let the words sink in your mind. Relax, repeat phrases and observe all experiences and feelings that appear. Whenever the mind is distracted by unwanted thoughts or fantasies, quietly bring it back to phrases.

2. Now imagine your parents. Remember that they gave you this life, raised you, and surrounded you with care. It doesn’t matter where they are now, whether they are alive or have already passed away, their love is still in our hearts and we can get some part of this love back. Please, repeat:

May you be happy and prosperous and so on…

3. After that, remember the people you respect very much, someone in your life who took really good care of you. People who helped you: educators, teachers, or other people you respect. Picture their images in your mind and repeat:

May you be happy and prosperous and so on…

4. Now, remember the people you are neutral about, and repeat:

May you be happy and prosperous and so on…

5. Now remember the most difficult people in your life, the ones who hurt you or are hard to communicate with. Wish them to be filled with loving-kindness and peace as well. Reflect on the fact that this person also wanted to learn how to live his life and made mistakes like the rest of us.

Imagine that you want to forgive this person, just as other people have forgiven you. Then repeat again:

May you be happy and prosperous and so on…

The Results of the Loving Kindness Meditation

Loving-kindness is also a useful tool for overcoming fear towards people or situations.

If you are afraid to go to the doctor, try to direct a feeling of loving-kindness to him. This can dramatically change your attitude toward the doctor and the situation in general. If you are afraid of dogs, snakes or spiders, you can direct loving-kindness to them.

After some practice, a strong and constant feeling of loving-kindness will begin to develop. Within 15 or 20 minutes, you will be able to include many people and creatures in your meditation – starting with yourself and going to benefactors, loved ones and then to everyone else – animals, living, and inanimate objects on the planet.

Let your loving-kindness radiate to every person. Let this feeling spread outside you, let it cover the entire neighbourhood. Let it cover the entire city where you live. Let it keep spreading. For the whole country, for the whole continent, and for all people in the world, regardless of race and religion. You can send loving-kindness to all beings in the world. To all people, animals, fish, insects. Slowly and carefully let your love spread everywhere. You can extend your loving kindness to rivers and seas, to the entire planet Earth, to the Moon and the Sun, to all planets, to the Milky Way, other galaxies, and our entire universe!