What is... Loving-Kindness Meditation?
Mediation. You hear so many wonderful things about it, and think to yourself “I know I should do this, but I don’t know how” or “I want to do this, but where do I begin?” Don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Namaste supports clients with many different types of meditation, but today we will focus Loving-kindness, also known as Metta.
“Loving-kindness, or Metta, as it in called in the Pali language, is unconditional, inclusive love, a love with wisdom. It has no conditions; it does not depend on whether one “deserves” it or not; it is not restricted to friends and family; it extends out from personal categories to include all living beings. There are no expectations of anything in return. This is the ideal, pure love, which everyone has in potential.” (Steven Smith, 2015)
In its purest form, Loving-kindness Meditation is the simple practice of directing well-wishes, goodwill, and kindness towards other people.
Let’s break it down.
You start with yourselves first. It only makes sense that in order to direct positive thoughts and well-wishes towards another, we must first take an introspective look at ourselves. If we can learn to love and accept ourselves it makes loving and accepting the people around us much easier.
As with any type of meditation, begin by finding a comfortable seat and tune into the natural ebb and flow of your breath. When the mind wanders, simply return to the breathe, resting your focus on the exhalation. It’s normal to get distracted, and the work is to return the exhalation, again and again. Feel the breath moving through the center of your chest - in the area of your heart. Feel or imagine a sense of warmth and openness in the heart center. Once you feel as though you have settled in, repeat the following mantras to yourself:
May I be safe. May I be protected. May I be happy. May I be well. May I be peaceful and at ease.
You don’t have to limit yourself to these mantras, and you can adjust the verbiage so it feels natural and authentic for you. During a Namaste Meditation session, we work together to tailor and customize your mantras to you.
Once you’ve spent time on yourself, begin directing these Loving-Kindness thoughts towards others - family, friends, co-workers, even acquaintances in your life. Ultimately we work towards sending Loving-Kindness towards people who we struggle with in some way, tapping into a higher sense of the word “love”.
May you be safe. May you be protected. May you be happy. May you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease.
Repeat these mantras over and over for as much or as little time as you please. Even five minutes will have an impact on the way you feel - and there is a ripple out from there. The best part? You can’t mess up. If your mind drifts, just take a moment to recenter. Breath in. Breath out.
Support in cultivating a Loving-kindness Meditation practice is one of our offerings at Namaste. We are honored and delighted to help you begin (or stay on track!) on your meditation journey. You never have to go through anything alone - life is a team game.
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