Loving Kindness Meditation – discovering your compassion
I teach the traditional form of Metta Meditation often to my classes. Metta means ‘loving kindness’ (in pali). This meditation helps you to develop more compassion for yourself and others.
The traditional form of teaching loving kindness meditation starts by sending loving kindness to ourselves, then to someone we love or respect deeply, then to someone neutral, then to someone we are in conflict with, and finally to all beings.
I have taught loving kindness meditation to well over a thousand students now. There are so many fascinating aspects to teaching this meditation – and of course each individual will experience it differently each time.
I often have lengthy discussions with fellow students and other teachers about how difficult people find it to give love to themselves. As well, it is often the case that people find it emotionally challenging to give loving kindness to those they are in conflict with.
However, for me the most surprising is the large number of people who find it difficult to send loving kindness to those they see as ‘neutral’. Neutral, meaning a person you don’t strongly like or dislike – basically a ‘guy on the street’ or a person you see often but don’t really know (someone on the tube, working at the post office, or handing out the daily paper, etc).
It is a telling sign of how many barriers we put up around ourselves each day. How habitual it has become to isolate ourselves from our fellow human beings. Teaching this technique and becoming aware of others’ response to it has even helped me become more aware of my own barriers.
In short, it is a very powerful meditation – and I believe it is a fundamental meditation to be practised regularly. I see compassion as the key to our happiness. This meditation must be experienced regularly – not just talked about.
It is simple – you need to start by loving yourself fully. Accepting yourself just as you are. Remembering that you are already all that you want to be. Touch that place within you regularly and you will naturally become more loving to others.
So… try it right now. Wherever you are. Whatever you are doing. Sit for just one minute and repeat the following statements with as much meaning as you can. Feel the emotion of these words.
– May I be free from fear
– May I be happy
– May I be healthy
– May I live with ease
– May I live with love
Until next week, with much love
ps – you can choose other phrases if you feel they suit you better. click here for more ideas