Whilst we’re experiencing this pandemic and trying to navigate the new reality it brings, I thought I’d share a Metta meditation with you.
It’s a fantastic meditation for the current situation as it gives us a chance to connect with others and extend our love. It can give us a greater appreciation and sense of joy in day to day life and emphasises that self-care is important now as ever.
Metta (or loving-kindness) meditations helps build happiness, strength, compassion, forgiveness and self-love, all of which are particularly beneficial at the moment.
This meditation has been practiced for over 2500 years within the Buddhist traditions. In the Buddha’s teachings (the Dhammapada) it is stated that:
‘Hatred can not coexist with love and kindness. It dissipates when supplanted with thoughts of love and compassion.’
In fact, there have been many recent studies into Metta meditation which have found positive impacts in both long and short-term practise.
I found this type of meditation took a bit more effort than others to start with, but with practise it quickly becomes a really easy and positive experience.
Find a comfortable position and concentrate on your breathing for a while. You can close your eyes or just allow them to rest on a blank wall or inanimate object. Lengthen your breathing and allow yourself to be drawn peacefully into your body.
Become aware of yourself, your breath in your body and focus on a feeling of calm.
Now repeat to yourself the words ‘May I be happy’, ‘May I be healthy’, ‘May I find peace’. (You can adapt these as necessary)
As you repeat these words, imagine a golden light shining in your chest or heart area. Start to really feel the words and feel the sensations of love and gratitude in your body. Focus on the heart area and how it feels to experience emotions of loving-kindness.
Sit with this for a while (perhaps 2-3 minutes to start with, increasing with experience) repeating the words as necessary.
Now we move to the second part of this meditation. This time, we’ll imagine a friend or someone we truly love. Recognise how you feel when you imagine being in their presence and appreciate the good qualities that they offer.
Feel the connection and love. Imagine the golden light moving from your chest into theirs and send them loving-kindness, saying the words ‘May you be happy’, ‘May you be healthy’, ‘May you find peace’.
Next we repeat this process towards someone we feel neutral towards.
‘May they be happy’, ‘May they be healthy’, ‘May they find peace’.
Sending loving-kindness to them and imagining the golden light passing from yourself to them.
In the fourth stage, we imagine someone with whom we have a difficult relationship or feel more negatively affected by.
This time, try not to fall into feelings of negativity. Maintain that physical and emotional feeling of love and compassion. Send it to them with light and say the words ‘May you be happy’, ‘May you be healthy’, ‘May you find peace’.
In the final stage of this meditation we experience these feelings of love, compassion, joy and care for all sentient beings and the Earth itself.
Conjuring the same feelings we felt for the person we value as a true friend, send that love and the light to all, repeating the words ‘May all be happy’, ‘May all be healthy’, ‘May all find peace’ as many times as you feel necessary.
Now, taking a few moments to be still, feeling the calm and peace in your body, open your eyes.
So, there we have it. It looks a bit complicated at first glance but in reality it’s simply an exercise in feeling compassion and love for all without attachment or personal attitudes or opinions.
I’d love to know how you get along with it. Sending love! Kate