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Tend to Your Heart in Loving-Kindness Meditation

July 6, 2015


All the Basics: 

Loving-kindness meditation allows a person to increase positive emotions and relate to others with more kindness.

The word “metta” is a Pali word that means kindness, benevolence, and good will (Love and Dare). This practice originates from Buddhist traditions, in particular, the Theravada and Tibetan lineages.

Today it’s even a science, as “compassion meditation” demonstrates the efficacy of metta and related practices.

In general, benefits include: boosting a person’s ability to empathize with others, developing positive emotions through compassion (including love and compassion to oneself), increasing self-acceptance, feeling a greater sense of happiness about one’s life and an increased purpose in life. Learn more about the scientific benefits of metta

How to Perform the Meditation: 

Begin by sitting in a seat with eyes closed. Then start to generate feelings of kindness and benevolence in your mind and heart. Develop loving-kindness toward yourself and then generate loving-kindness toward others and all beings.

This progression is advised:

  1. oneself
  2. a good friend
  3. a “neutral” person
  4. a difficult person
  5. all four of the above equally
  6. and then gradually the entire universe

The goal is to wish happiness and well-being onto all. This practice is intended to bring you joy.

“For one who attends properly to the liberation of the heart by benevolence, unarisen ill will does not arise and arisen ill will is abandoned.” – The Buddha

Mantra, Sound or Visualization: 

In loving-kindness meditation, recite specific words that evoke “boundless warm-hearted feeling,” visualize the suffering of others and send love or image the state of other beings and wish them happiness and peace.

Origin + History: 

Metta meditation is an ancient practice that was recommended to the Buddha’s followers in Pali canon. It advises radiating metta in six directions. A set of practical instructions began in the 5th CE Visuddhimagga and continues to this day.

Modern instructions are found in the works of Sharon Salzberg, the Triratna Buddhist Community’s Kamalashila, the Matthieu Ricard.

IFramePhoto Cred: Meditation Mag