Loving kindness meditation is also known as metta meditation.
What is metta?
Metta comes from pali language which translate as loving kindness. The essence of metta is love without attachment. It is the purest kind of love. Metta is different from ordinary love.
Ordinary love is complicated, full of lust and selfish desire. However, metta is the kind of selfless love that one feels happy for the happiness of others.
Those who practices metta will grow compassion and empathy towards others. They are willing to go extra miles just to make others’ life less suffering. They would do good deeds to others without hoping for anything in return. This is why metta is best defined as love without attachment.
Benefit of practicing Metta Meditation
In 2015, I had a conflict with my uncle and during the conflict, he laid his hand on me. I felt such a deep hatred towards him and decided not to attend any family gathering even Chinese New Year.
My family is still a very traditional Chinese people who treasure Chinese New Year so much. This is the best time when you can meet all your uncles, aunties, grandpa, grandma, cousins, nieces and nephews. We would have a big feast and had lenghty conversation to update our life’s story. I skipped Chinese New Year gathering. I stayed at home cause I want to avoid my uncle and his family.
I really love family gathering and because of my hatred towards my uncle, I cant meet the big family. Then around the end of 2015, I learnt about metta meditation and I decided to give it a try. I did metta meditation to my uncle everyday for months.
After few months of wishing him to be happy, I decided to attend the 2016 Chinese New Year gathering. To my surprise, when I looked at him, I dont feel angry or hatred anymore. There is nothing left, but love. I came to him and greet him happy chinese new year. He looked surprise and he smiled. I never thought the hatred feeling could be replaced with love just by doing metta meditation.
So it is clear that metta meditation could make you have abundance of love not only to yourself and people that you like, but also to people you once hated.
A very wise teacher of mine once said,
“Holding grudge towards people is like drinking a poison and expecting others to die.”
That is very true. When you are free from hatred/ animosity, it gives you sense of peace you desire.
Metta Meditation 101
On my previous post, I wrote about the recommended sitting pose. After having a correct sitting post I would recommend readers to do mindfulness meditation first then end the meditation with metta meditation.
This time I would like to share how I do metta meditation.
In metta meditation, I wish for the happiness of:
2. My family
3. My teachers
4. My friends
5. My employees & their family
6. Neutral people (like the people you met at supermarket, or the security guards)
7. People that I dislike/ ever hurt my feelings
8. All beings
9. Forgiveness meditation
It is important to do metta meditation to yourself first because we need to be able to love ourselves before loving others.
Metta Meditation Technique
At first, we visualize positive energy from outside coming into our body. We feel the positive energy flowing into our body and we picture ourselves smiling then we repeat this sentences in our mind
” May I be well, happy and peaceful.May I be free from animosityMay I be free from physical sufferingMay I be free from mental sufferingMay I live well, happy and peaceful.”
After doing metta meditation for ourselves then we can continue to do it for our family. But this time we imagine there is a bright light of positive energy coming out from our heart and radiates to our family. We picture the face of our family looking happy and peaceful and repeat this sentences in our mind
“May my family be well, happy and peaceful.May my family be free from animosityMay my family be free from physical sufferingMay my family be free from mental sufferingMay my family live well, happy and peaceful.”
When you do this metta meditation, you can feel there will be a warm sensation in your heart. You will feel happy and content.
Then continue to do metta meditation for the rest of the list I typed above.
I understand for first timer it would be hard to do metta meditation for people we dislike. Our heart will feel so heavy. If it is very hard to wish for their happiness, we can replace their name into “all beings.” May all beings be well, happy and peaceful..
After doing metta meditation for all beings for few days, we can try to do metta meditation for the people we dislike. I believe our heart will not be as heavy as before.
The last step of metta meditation I usually do forgiveness meditation. It is not compulsory and usually people will just end the meditation after wishing all beings to be happy. But I just like to add forgiveness meditation.
Forgiveness meditation is the time when we ask forgiveness from others and we forgive those who ever hurt us. The technique is pretty much the same like metta meditation. We repeat the sentence while visualizing the person “If I have done wrong to anyone (or name of certain person) by thought, speech or deeds, may I be forgiven so I can live happily and peacefully. I also forgive anyone who have done wrong to me by thought, speech or deeds so they may live happily and peacefully.”
I repeat the sentences for few times and then I go back to my mindfulness meditation for few minutes. That would be the end of my meditation practice.
I would like to end this post by quoting one of my favorite teachers
“Though we all have the fear and the seeds of anger within us, we must learn not to water those seeds and instead nourish our positive qualities – those of compassion, understanding and loving kindness.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
May readers who read this post be well, happy and peaceful.