All meditation offers us time for relaxation and a way to create more awareness.
In a world where we often feel stressed, overwhelmed, and burnt out, we may withdraw from our senses as a protective measure against any other stress. Or we might go on autopilot, doing and saying things without thinking them through.
Meditation offers a path to connect with ourselves in a meaningful way that honors the experiences we’re having.
There are various forms of meditation. One of the more powerful ones is called loving kindness meditation or metta meditation.
What is Metta Meditation?
This type of meditation allows us to expand out of ourselves and into the world around us.
It offers us a way to see others through a new lens and appreciate their experiences. It allows us to cultivate an attitude of compassion towards self and others that helps create understanding and equanimity in relationships.
We feel the joy and sadness of others in a way that creates connections we would not otherwise experience. This, in turn, allows us to offer assistance or even just our presence.
Loving kindness meditation often includes phrases or mantras such as:
- May you be happy.
- May you be healthy.
- May you be safe.
- May you know peace and ease.
These phrases are repeated throughout the meditation with the object of our awareness shifting.
The Power of Metta Meditation
First, we turn our attention to someone we find easy to love such as a spouse, child, or close friend.
Once we feel the warmth of love and acceptance for them, the next step is to focus on these feelings for ourselves.
When we do this, we develop goodwill towards all parts of our being, even the ones we often don’t like very much.
This is why this form of meditation is so powerful.
Extending Your Empathy
Once we have established a foundation within ourselves, loving kindness meditation then creates a path towards others in our lives that are considered neutral – like the postal worker or the bank teller. Someone we have no particular attachment to, yet whom we see regularly.
It then invites us to gently move towards someone who is difficult to love. This may be someone who has hurt us in the past or creates situations in our lives that are uncomfortable or even painful.
Once we can increase awareness of compassion with equanimity for this person, we then turn our attention to all beings known or unknown.
Loving kindness meditation creates a conduit of energy that both connects and energizes all beings. It provided a path to peaceful co-existence. Try this daily for 30 days and share how this changes your experiences of humanity.
Remember this quote from the King of Meditation Sutra, Chapter 14:
You who thoroughly cultivated loving-kindness are the spiritual guide of all beings.
Unshakable like Mount Meru, you remain utterly unperturbed.