Loving Kindness Meditation: A Zen Technique to Boost Compassion

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Loving Kindness Meditation is a popular Zen meditation technique which is practiced to develop compassion towards oneself and for all living beings.

Loving Kindness Meditation is a popular Zen meditation technique which is practiced to develop compassion towards oneself and for all living beings.

Loving Kindness Meditation also boosts our overall wellbeing and when practiced regularly, enhances happiness and helps us gain a deeper understanding of the world in which we live.

The objective of doing loving kindness meditation is to overcome feelings of negativity or self-doubt. When you practice this meditation technique regularly, you’ll find yourself better equipped to deal with stress and anxiety.

In this article, you will learn how to practice this wonderful mindfulness technique. To help you, we’ve also included the loving kindness meditation script.

Before we begin the practice, let’s get a deeper understanding of loving kindness meditation and the different stages involved in the practice.

Loving Kindness Meditation is also called Metta Bhavana. In Pali, Metta means compassion towards all living beings and Bhavana means cultivating. So the practice of Metta Bhavana is to cultivate feelings of compassion towards yourself and others.

In each stage of loving kindness meditation, you will envision four different types of people. The first stage is to develop feelings of warmth and compassion towards yourself. If you find resistance to extend compassion towards yourself in this stage, don’t worry. The objective of loving-kindness meditation is to gradually neutralize the feelings of unworthiness and negativity.

Four Stages of Loving Kindness Meditation

These are the four types of people you need to envision while practicing this meditation:

  • Stage 1: Envision yourself
  • Stage 2: Envision someone towards whom you have great affection
  • Stage 3: Envision someone who you find difficult to deal with
  • Stage 4: Envision every living being in the world

How to Practice Loving-Kindness Meditation (Script & Steps)

Stage 1: Envision yourself

  1. Find a comfortable place, sit in sukhasana (cross-legged position) or sit on a chair/couch. Keep your spine straight, rest your hands on the knees, and gently close your eyes.
  2. Be in this position for a few seconds, make sure you’re comfortable and allow your mind to settle down.
  3. Now bring your attention to your breath. Take a few deep breaths. Allow the breath to be natural and bring complete awareness to the breath.
  4. Shift your focus from the breath to yourself. Breathe from your heart center and try to create feelings of warmth towards yourself. Allow feelings of kindness, love, and compassion to flow through your whole body.
  5. Now repeat these sentences of loving kindness in your mind,

‘May I be happy,

May I be safe

May I be healthy

May I be at peace.’

You can use these phrases or come up with your own phrases. Each time you recite these sentences in your mind, bring your complete focus on them. Be mindful of each and every word. Absorb the meaning of these lines.

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Stage 2: Envision someone towards whom you have great affection

6. Picture the person in your mind. Develop feelings of warmth and compassion towards this person. You can picture more than one person. Just make sure that you picture their presence near you and extend loving-kindness towards them. Now repeat these phrases in your mind, keeping your loved one/ones in your thoughts:

‘May you be happy,

May you be safe,

May you be healthy

May you be at peace.’

Once again be mindful and absorb the complete meaning of these loving-kindness phrases.

Stage 3: Envision someone who you find difficult to deal with

7. This may be your boss, a long time nemesis, someone who has hurt your feelings in the past, or someone who is just generally difficult to deal with. To the best of your ability and just as much as you’re able to, open your heart and extend feelings of loving-kindness towards this person. Repeat the loving-kindness phrases keeping this person in your thoughts:

‘May you be happy,

May you be safe,

May you be healthy

May you be at peace.’

Stage 4: Envision every living being in the world

8. Extend feelings of warmth and compassion to every living being in this world. Extend affection without boundaries, spreading loving-kindness across the world. Repeat the loving-kindness phrases once again:

‘May all beings be happy,

May all beings be safe,

May all beings be healthy,

May all beings be at peace.’

9. As the practice approaches its finish, bring your attention back to the breath and the body. Notice how it feels to extend loving-kindness to yourself and others. Take a few deep breaths and when you’re ready, gently open your eyes.

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Over to you

You can practice loving-kindness meditation for 10, 15, or 25 mins. You’ll find yourself clocking in more minutes as you become a regular practitioner of loving-kindness meditation.

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12 COMMENTS

    • Thanks, Vasantha.

      Hope you’ve enjoyed the benefits of practicing this meditation regularly.

      Stay tuned for more articles as we’ll write about 2-3 meditation techniques each week.

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