How To Practice Metta Meditation
It’s weird—sit there and do nothing. But, somehow this simple act of stopping, is the best way to develop a spiritual life. The unpredictability of the human experience can lead to a multitude of emotions and ideas. As recovering people, we find no freedom in running. In fact, running is often how we found ourselves in this mess in the first place. Instead, we find that freedom, peace, and grounding is often found in our ability to simply sit and observe what is happening. But, where do we start? How do we develop a practice to that helps us discover the freedom we crave?
Choosing the “right” practice is very personal. In the next few articles I will briefly describe some common practices starting with Metta Meditation.
Metta Meditation, otherwise known as Loving-kindness Meditation, is simply the practice of directing good vibes towards other people. The instructions are easy, simply recite specific words and phrases that arouse a "boundless warm-hearted feeling." The practice begins with the attention being focus on the self, then gradually the attention is extended for the well-being of others; friends, family, and enemies.
To Begin: take a comfortable seated position.
Find phrases you’d like to use to offer good wishes:
Examples from Jack Kornfield:
May I be filled with lovingkindness
May I be safe from inner and outer dangers
May I be well in body and mind
May I be at ease and happy
Examples From Sharon Salzberg:
May I be free from danger
May I have mental Happiness
May I have physical Happiness
May I have ease of well-being
Bring someone to mind who’s been kind to you: In other words, someone who has helped you, who you feel respect or gratitude towards. Now, repeat the phrases with that person in mind. Let you mind rest with each phrase.
Now picture someone you feel neutral about— someone you don’t have a strong sense of liking or disliking. Allow yourself the time find this person…it’s harder than you might think. Repeat the phrases with that person in mind. Let you mind rest with each phrase.
Next, bring to mind a person you don't like or who you are having problems with: Remember, this person is ultimately are seeking the same thing you are; happiness, peace, love, freedom from self. Now, repeat the phrases with that person in mind. Let you mind rest with each phrase.
Finally, direct the metta towards all beings, everywhere: For example, "May all beings everywhere be filled with lovingkindness.