Loving kindness meditation is another type of meditation that has its roots in Buddhism. In fact, within Buddhism it is referred to as metta meditation. This is a type of meditation that has the goal of cultivating kindness and love for yourself and for others too. Many people spend a lot of time focusing on external items like finances, family, work, judgments, and more. Many worry about the future, which can drain away energy. This type of meditation can help you bring this energy back into your being, unifying your being. Loving kindness meditation specifically encourages you to be more compassionate, not only to others, but to yourself.
Benefits of Loving Kindness Meditation
Just as with other types of meditation, research has been done on this type of meditation. Research has shown that there are many positive results to practicing it. There are a variety of excellent benefits that you can enjoy, including the following:
- Help to reduce feelings of anger
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Alleviate both emotional and physical pain
- Production emotions that are more lasting and positive
- Increase social emotions that are positive to loved ones and even new people that you meet.
- Eliminate negative moods and affects
- Provides more feelings of hope
- Can be practiced daily with little training
Steps to Practicing Loving Kindness Meditation
If you want to practice loving kindness, this requires concentration, but the focus is on good wishes for yourself and others and bringing about feelings of love. This is a type of meditation that is turned inward. If you want to give this a try yourself, here are a few steps you can follow.
First, you need to start by creating compassion and love for yourself. This is the foundation you need if you are going to love other people. Take time to reflect on the things you want to experience in life. Perhaps it is peace, joy, happiness, emotional well being, health, safety, or freedom. Choose several of these things and then repeat them. For example, you could repeat, May I be happy, may I be joyful, may I be at peace. Continue to repeat this to yourself as you get to the feeling behind them. These phrases should be coming from the heart, not the head.
The second step is to start building on your self love and then shifting that focus to friends and family. Now you are focusing those thoughts on people that you care for. Reflect on those who are close to you. Then consider what you want for them and begin to repeat several phrases, saying their name. For example, May Jane be happy, may she be healthy, may she be at peace. Then you can do the same thing for another person you love.
Now you need to focus on acquaintances after you have focused on loved ones. These are people that you have a neutral feeling about, such as a neighbor, a person you know from work, or the cashier you see at the store. This helps you to expand that loving energy to other people in the community around you. As you continue with loving kindness meditation, you’ll find that there is even more love coming from your heart now.
The fourth step of loving kindness meditation is to work on sending loving and kind thoughts to people who are difficult and challenging. However, doing this can help you to eliminate resentment and instead focus on forgiving those people. When you reach this point, your heart will be full of love and very open, which makes it easier for you to extend love and kindness to those who have caused you pain in the past. Start with those who are the least difficult and then go on to those who may be more challenging for you.
These are the basic steps for practicing loving kindness meditation. This type of meditation helps to reverse negative energy and helps to introduce positive energy, which radiates to friends, family, community, and beyond.