Updated: Jun 12

Metta or Loving Kindness Meditation is a beautiful and simple practice to cultivate compassion in yourself and for those around you. The original name of this meditation is Metta Bhavana in Pali language meaning love (in a non-romantic sense) and deep, connected kindness. It is such a peaceful, grounding meditation that is great to practice every day, especially when you are finding self-kindness or love challenging – remember it is very hard to truly love others if you can’t cultivate it within yourself first. Metta Meditation is also beneficial to do with children, even in a classroom, as they respond very well to the repeated language and are often stronger practitioners of compassion than what we are as adults!

How to do it?

There are many variations on the theme, but here is a simple version you can try that I think is very versatile and suited for all (adapted from the Buddhist Centre*). The practice is in 5 stages and the time spent on each focus point can be left up to you. Repeat the words on each stage as often as you need. Find a comfortable seated position, with body relaxed and mind connected. A few deep breaths before you start is often beneficial.

1. Firstly focus inwards on yourself – loving kindness begins with you. Repeat the words:

“May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.”

2. In the second stage, think of a good friend or loved one. Bring them to mind as vividly as you can, and think of their good qualities. Feel your connection with this person, your love for them, and encourage these qualities to grow by repeating the following words using their name inserted in between:

“May ….. be happy. May …. be well. May …. be safe. May … be peaceful and at ease.”

3. In the third stage, think of someone you do not particularly like or dislike. Your feelings are ‘neutral’. This may be someone you do not know well but see around. It could be a neighbour, a colleague or person working at the checkout at the supermarket. Pick the first person that comes to mind. You reflect on their humanity, and include them in your feelings of Metta by repeating the following words using their name or simply “they” inserted in between:

“May ….. be happy. May …. be well. May …. be safe. May … be peaceful and at ease.”

4. In the fourth stage, think of someone you actually dislike — an “enemy”, traditionally— someone you are having difficulty with. Try not to get caught up in any feelings of anger, think of them positively and send your Metta to them as well by repeating the following words by using their name inserted in between:

“May ….. be happy. May …. be well. May …. be safe. May … be peaceful and at ease.”

4. In the fifth stage, you firstly think of all four people together — yourself, the friend, the neutral person, and the person you find challenging. Then extend your feelings further — to everyone around you, to everyone in your neighbourhood; in your town, your country, and so on throughout the world. Have a sense of waves of loving-kindness spreading from your heart to everyone, to all beings everywhere. Then gradually relax out of meditation, and bring the practice to an end by repeating the words:

“May everyone be happy. May everyone be well. May everyone be safe. May everyone be peaceful and at ease.”

With love now and always,

Tamika x


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