If you are familiar with meditation and have a consistent practice, you may have heard of metta meditation. Metta meditation, also known as loving kindness meditation, is a Buddhist meditation practice that is meant to cultivate love and compassion towards oneself and others. If you are looking for a practice that will promote love and wellbeing, this is exactly what you are looking for.
The practice consists of reciting positive phrases toward yourself and others. It is beneficial for mental, emotional and physical health, and it reduces negative emotions. It evokes feelings of joy, love, compassion, appreciation, and gratitude. Common phrases recited during the meditation include:
“May you feel love”
“May you be free from suffering”
“May you be happy”
When reciting these phrases it is important to focus on and settle in on the associated emotions. Really feel the sensations of wishing someone well and feel how that feeling grows in your body.
Studies have shown that participants who practiced metta meditation became less self critical than those who did not practice. Studies have also shown that a consistent metta meditation practice helped to reduce symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
How To Do It
One of the greatest aspects of this practice is that you can start immediately right where you are. It does not require any special equipment.
- Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath. Take a couple deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Think of someone you love. Choose someone that you have a loving, uncomplicated relationship with.
- Choose a positive phrase. Recite the phrase directing the well wishes towards your loved one. You can say “may you be happy,” “may you be free from suffering.” Recognize how much you truly want that person to be happy and focus on that feeling.
- Direct the feeling towards yourself. Acknowledge that you also wish to be happy. Direct the well wishes back to yourself and settle in on the feeling that you want yourself to be happy and free from suffering.
Depending on where you are in your self love journey, this practice may be difficult. Be patient with yourself and trust the process. You deserve to be happy and it is okay if you have trouble focusing or honing in on the emotions during the meditation.