We can consciously develop our positive mental qualities through these loving kindness meditation techniques. Metta – Loving Kindness is a meditation that helps us to open our hearts to ourselves and others. If practiced regularly it will become your natural way of responding to any situation. What is really remarkable about this is when you react with an open heart any difficult situations you come across in life tend to dissolve within themselves, and difficult people become your friends. It may sound unbelievable but it is true, of course the only way you will ever know is to try it for yourself.
Metta – Loving Kindness has the feeling of caring and support, it can be directed at ourselves and others removing any feeling of separateness. It is the direct opposite to anger and ill-will and as such can be used to weaken or remove these negative patterns. This is because only one thinking pattern can exist at any moment, we can’t dislike and care for someone at any one time, taking advantage of this we can replace a negative pattern of thought with a positive one.
There are different ways of practicing and developing Metta, but for now I will just go over two.
In this meditation you send kind thoughts in this order:
1. To yourself, 2. Someone you respect/ admire, 3. Someone very close to you, 4. A Person you feel Neutral to, 5. A difficult person in your life
Remember to develop an open heart means to open it to everyone and eventually have no enemies, only loved ones.
Take a comfortable sitting posture that you can stay in without moving for the desired length of your meditation. Close your eyes and take a deep breath then breathe out letting all thoughts and tension drop away. Slowly scan from the top of your head to your feet and release any knots and tensions you come across by breathing into them.
Make a half smile on your face, relax once more and picture yourself sitting there smiling with either a thought or image.
Now slowly and gently repeat as thoughts in your mind:
”May I be well, happy and peaceful, and free from harm, may I be free from danger and be safe”
Keep gently repeating this phrase to yourself softly, in no hurry and really mean it. The key here is to develop the positive feeling that comes with saying these phrases. Once the feeling has developed you can move onto the next person in the list, picture them in your mind and send them loving thoughts and so on. Slowly move through all the people in the list ending with your difficult person and then back to you.
Pervasive Metta is similar to the systematic Metta practice except instead of sending it to individuals you send it to groups slowly increasing your range until you include the whole universe.
”May I be well, happy and peaceful”
Keep gently repeating this phrase to yourself softly, in no hurry and really mean it. The key here is to develop the positive feeling that comes with saying these phrases. Once the feeling has developed you start sending it out into the room.
”May everyone in this room be well, happy and peaceful”.
Next send your thoughts of wellbeing out into your neighbourhood, suburb, city, state, country and keep increasing the range
”May every being in the world be well, happy and peaceful”
Metta meditation has a close relationship with the next type of meditation, Vipassana – awareness meditation. Metta opens your heart not just to people but to all experiences. We spend allot of time and energy through distractions avoiding a big chunk of our lives. Metta softens the heart and makes it easier to go deeply into our mind.
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This article was written by Stephen Procter, instructor from Tai Chi Health for Life, Australian College of Tai Chi & Qi Gong and Meditation Instructor from Meditation in the Shire, Kirrawee NSW, Australia. If you wish to post this article on another website or in a publication please respect the author and reference / link back to this website, thank you