Metta Meditaion: Lovingkindness in Action
What is Metta Meditation?
A Metta Meditation practice opens your heart to offer love, compassion and peace to yourself, to others and to the world. Practicing this prayer, or meditation, removes blocks you may feel toward yourself or others.
Beginning with yourself, you gradually move outward, to people you love, people you know, people you feel ambivalent toward, people you dislike, and then to all people.
You offer yourself and then others, the gift of health, happiness, and well-being. This practice opens your heart to compassion and helps you feel the connection that we all share.
Begin With Yourself
Extend Lovingkindness to Yourself First
Sit or lay in a comfortable position. I prefer to practice my lovingkindness meditation as I am drifting off to sleep. It helps me express gratitude for all the people in my life, while also blessing myself and the world.
Close your eyes and bring your hands to your heart.
"May I be peaceful, happy and light, in body, mind and spirit.
May I be safe, and free from injury.
May I be free from anger, affliction, fear and anxiety."
Let the words settle in and feel them in your heart.
Extend Your Prayer Outward
Compassion Moves Outward
Once you have meditated for yourself, think about people you care about. You can picture them, name them specifically, or think of groups of people, such as your family and friends.
These are the people who make you smile and make your heart feel warm. As you feel these good thoughts, begin your prayer for these people.
"May my children, my family and friends be peaceful happy and light in body, mind and spirit.
May my children, my family and my friends be safe and free from injury.
May my children, my family and my friends be free from anger, affliction, fear and anxiety."
If you have time and if you want to, you can name each person individually and say the meditation for them specifically.
People in Your Community Deserve Compassion Too
After you have meditated on all your loved ones, move your awareness outward, to your coworkers, people who work in the restaurants you frequent and the stores you shop in. The people in your community who make life a little easier and a little more pleasant.
You may not know them by name. That's okay. Set your intention on the people in your neighborhood or the people in your town. Repeat the meditation for those you do not know well.
"May the teachers, waitresses and workers throughout my town be peaceful, happy and light in body, mind and spirit.
May the people I don't know who live in this community be safe and free from injury.
May the people in my town and community be free from anger, affliction fear and anxiety."
Love Your Enemies
Pray For Those Who Hate You
This part of the meditation is often the hardest. Offer compassion and lovingkindness to your enemies, the people you don't like, and the people who don't like you. Your ex. Your mean boss. The person who stole from you. The person who hurt you.
Offer all of those people love and compassion. No. It is not easy. Yes. It will heal your heart. And, who knows? It may soften their hearts as well. The work is in offering a prayer of peace, compassion and lovingkindness and letting that positive energy work.
You don't have to do anything other than offer compassion to your enemies. That is all. Try just a blanket statement, without naming specific people or thinking about particular grievances.
"May my enemies be peaceful, happy and light in body, mind and spirit.
May my enemies be safe and free from injury.
May my enemies be free from anger, affliction, fear and anxiety."
May All Beings Find Peace
Embrace the World
Finally, send a prayer of love and compassion to all beings on the planet. Some suggest using the phrase "all sentient beings." Others say "All beings." Personally, I usually say everyone, while I picture different areas of the world.
"May everyone be peaceful, happy and light in body, mind and spirit.
May everyone be safe and free from injury.
May everyone be free from anger, affliction, fear and anxiety."
No Wrong Way
There is no wrong way to offer lovingkindness and compassion to others. Offering love makes the world a better, more peaceful place.
The meditation that I use comes from Vietnamese Buddhist and peace activist Thic Nhat Hahn. While it is lengthy, I feel it encompasses exactly what I wish to express.
You can use whatever words you'd like. There is no "wrong" way to do a metta meditation. Offer love to yourself and others. That is the way.