Metta Meditation- Loving Kindness
Metta bhavana, or loving-kindness meditation, is a method of developing compassion. It comes from the Buddhist tradition, but it can be adapted and practiced by anyone, regardless of religious affiliation; loving-kindness meditation is essentially about cultivating love.
This is a meditation of care, concern, tenderness, loving kindness, friendship–a feeling of warmth for oneself and others. The practice is the softening of the mind and heart, an opening to deeper and deeper levels of the feeling of kindness, of pure love. Loving kindness is without any desire to possess another. It is not a sentimental feeling of goodwill, not an obligation, but comes from a selfless place. It does not depend on relationships, on how the other person feels about us. The process is first one of softening, breaking down barriers that we feel inwardly toward ourselves, and then those that we feel toward others.
Take a very comfortable posture. One of the aims in this meditation is to feel good, so make your posture relaxed and comfortable. Begin to focus around your chest area, your “heart center”. Breathe in and out from that area, as if you are breathing from the heart center and as if all experience is happening from there. Anchor your mindfulness only on the sensations at your heart center.
Breathing in and out from the heart center, begin by generating this kind feeling toward yourself. Feel any areas of mental blockage or numbness, self-judgment, self-hatred. Then drop beneath that to the place where we care for ourselves, where we want strength and health and safety for ourselves.
Continuing to breathe in and out, use either these traditional phrases or ones you choose yourself. Say or think them several times.