Many years ago, when I learned how to do Loving Kindness Meditation / Metta Bhavana, I gained a key to my personal happiness. And today I want to teach you how to do the same technique.
Metta meditation is is one of the most important types of Buddhist meditation. Of all the different types of meditation in the world, this one will bring you the most joy.
So, what is Metta Bhavana?
Metta Bhavana / Loving Kindness Meditation is a technique with which you can create feelings of love and kindness, warm feelings that make your inner world a place of compassion.
For me, this was huge. I was brought up with a lot of turmoil in my life. I was bullied severely at school and there was always arguing at home. Anger was like a way of life. And I needed to change that for my health and happiness.
Today I teach meditation, and I have taught thousands of people how to do Metta Bhavana / Loving Kindness Meditation, largely through this site, THE DAILY MEDITATION.
So, enjoy this guide and leave a comment if you have any questions for me.
What does Loving Kindness mean? What’s Metta Meditation All About?
Loving kindness meditation is all about creating compassion. This is huge because scientific research shows how important compassion is. (Not to mention, the world would be a far better place if everyone were compassionate),
The technique is traditionally called “Metta”.
Metta is a Pali word that means benevolence, friendliness, friendship, good will, kindness, and love.
The full name “Metta Bhavana” means “developing loving kindness”. So , as you can tell, metta meditation is a technique you can use to create love and kindness.
“Love” and “Kindness” are the same in the Buddhist tradition as they are to you and me. They are about loving people, loving animals, and loving the world. They’re about doing good, meaning well, and living from a place of kindness and compassion. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that these are some of the most important and best qualities a person can possess.
Metta Bhavana is even more important than that though. It is one of the ten pāramīs (perfecctions) that are taught in the Theravāda school of Buddhism. Metta is the first of the four sublime states (the states described in Buddhism as the ideal ways of conduct towards living beings).
The Paramis (Perfections) are:
- Loving Kindness
You might think you already possess the quality of Metta.
Do you already have high levels of love and kindness? Then you are on your way to becoming an enlightened person.
The History Of Buddhist Loving Kindness Meditation
This technique is historically one of the most important Buddhist meditation techniques.
Guatama Buddha began to teach Loving Kindness Meditation over 2500 years ago.
The Buddha himself practiced Loving Kindness Meditation every day (I do the same thing myself). And if you want to know how to do Metta Bhavana, there really is no better inspiration than Buddha himself.
So how did Buddha do Metta Bhavana?
Buddha would spend all morning meditating and reciting mantras.
Towards the end of the Buddha’s session he would do LKM. He would start by focusing on himself. He would extend thoughts and feelings of compassion, love and kindness to himself, perhaps because Buddha understood that love begins with yourself.
After cultivating metta towards himself, Buddha would look around him at the villagers and the monks. They would be toiling away, trying to survive as best they could. The Buddha would imagine sending out positive feelings of love and kindness towards them.
But Buddha did not stop there.
Once Buddha had mentally projected love and kindness to the people around him, he would look for ways to help his community. Buddha would find ways to act out love and kindness.
Can you imagine if everyone did the same thing today? If everyone lived for love and kindness, if everyone spent their time helping others instead of selfishly helping themselves. Can you imagine how much better the world would be?
Buddha’s practice illustrates what LKM is all about:
Loving kindness Meditation is About:
- Focusing the mind and relaxing
- Extending love to yourself
- Extending love to others
- Finding loving ways to help others.
I believe we should all practice loving kindness meditation, whether we are Buddhist or not. And not just because of the amazing benefits. I personally believe in accepting and embracing all people. And I believe the world is better when we see the good in things, regardless of whether those things click with us. That’s why I’d like to remind you:
You do not need to be Buddhist to do metta meditation. Regardless of who we are or where we come from, we can all benefit from learning how to do metta meditation.
So let’s now learn how to do loving kindness meditation.
How to do Loving Kindness Meditation—Instructions
- Before doing LKM, take five minutes to relax with breathing meditations.
- Find somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed for ten to twenty minutes. (Read my guide to creating a meditation space).
- Sit, lie down or stand up.
- Check your posture. Is your body in alignment? Strait spine? Feeling comfy but alert? Great.
- Focus on your breath: Focus on your breathing for a few moments to quiet and calm your mind.
- Extend loving kindness to yourself: Imagine seeing yourself happy and smiling.
- Now imagine sending out feelings of love and kindness towards yourself.
- Think of five positive things about that you love.
- Now think of five ways in which you enact self love (perhaps you are kind to yourself by eating healthily, by giving yourself peace when you need it. . . think of ways in which you are kind to yourself).
- Say to yourself the Loving Kindness Meditation words: “May I have loving kindness. May I have strength, peace, love and success. May I also have the strength to overcome all obstacles.”
- Repeat with someone close to you: Bring to mind someone close to you (family / friend) and repeat the process.
- Imagine the person happy.
- Imagine sending them love.
- Imagine them sending love back to you.
- Now think of five things to love about that person.
- Think of five ways that person shows loving kindness to you.
- Now say the Loving Kindness Meditation script “May (name of person) have loving kindness. May they have love, peace, strength and success. May they also have the strength to overcome all obstacles.”
- Now repeat the process and say the loving kindness meditation script with a neutral individual
- Now repeat with a hostile individual: This should be someone you have argued with or do not easily get along with (see my story above for a good example). Remember, the purpose of metta meditation is to feel universal loving kindness for everyone, and that include your noisy neighbor.
- Return to the beginning and repeat.
- Always remember the sacred loving kindness script: “May (name of person) have loving kindness. May they have love, peace, strength and success. May they also have the strength to overcome all obstacles).”
- If you have a prayer beads mala you can use it to count the number of people you include in your metta bhavna meditation. Aim for 20 people or more.
- If you notice that you experience anger or hate at any time during this process, you might like to use Buddhist Meditations to master your Anger.
- Once you have finished Loving Kindness meditation, move on to Karuna (compassion).
Review of LKM
LKM creates love for all.
It begins with self love. Here we forgive ourselves, find compassion for ourselves, and develop a truly loving relationship with ourselves.
This can have a big impact on our happiness and well-being.
Once we have achieved self love, we then extend our loving kindness towards others, beginning with those close to us, those people whom we love and respect.
This helps us to feel and to act positively towards the people in our lives.
For instance, I once taught a married couple facing divorce to practice extending loving kindness towards each other.
They both spent twenty minutes a day extending loving kindness towards one another. This helped them to accept the weaknesses and errors of the other, which led to a very healthy relationship. They’re still together today and are now happier than ever.
Next, we move on to neutral people (people we know but feel indifferent towards). This includes colleagues, people we know but rarely speak to, and people about whom we simply feel indifferent. When we practice loving kindness towards these “neutral” people we begin to feel much closer to them. This in turn leads us to act more positively towards them, which often leads to new friendships and new relationships.
Finally we come to the most challenging part.
In this part we focus on those people towards whom we currently experience negative feelings.
For instance, a lot of people don’t get along with their neighbors.
It’s a tragic reality because your neighbors can be some of the best friends and most helpful acquaintances you have. But after a few years living next door to one another, with all that noise and the fact that they put up that ugly fence, it can be easy to fall out. By practicing LKM you can learn to see each other in a positive light, which cures any animosity and restores the positive relationship.
This final part can also help to cure seriously unhealthy relationships as well and emotional suffering.
I decided to create an infographic to teach the most important parts of metta.
This infographic teaches loving kindness meditation. Feel free to save this image so you know how to do loving kindness meditation. You may also share this loving kindness meditation infographic on your own site provided you leave a link back to this webpage.
CLICK IMAGE FOR FULL SIZE
Best Recordings And Books On Loving Kindness Meditation
If you would like to learn more about how to do loving kindness meditation, I recommend these two fantastic books:
Loving Kindness: The Revolutionary Path Of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg
This is a truly beautiful and inspirational book by Salzberg. It explains why loving kindness means so much and how to bring loving kindness into your life. A truly life transforming work.
GET IT ON AMAZON
Meditation On Loving Kindness by Master Choa Kok Sui
Master Choa Kok Sui gives a guided meditation on Loving Kindness. A world renowned expert and luminary this recording is a real treat.
Download the PDF here.
Help me out: share this metta meditation guide
Above I’ve shared everything on Metta. We’ve covered the script, benefits, a guide, and more.
If you have found this article useful, please do me a favor. Share it.
The only way I can keep producing content like this is if kind people like you help share these articles.
Thanks so much.
Leave a comment and remember to subscribe to our newsletter.