As promised before, I’m gonna tell you some more about metta meditation, or loving-kindness meditation. If you ever feel sad or depressed, know that there’s no faster mood booster. Some time ago I was in a very bad place myself. And even though I knew it was all temporary, it didn’t feel good at all, so I tried a few ways to improve my mood, but nothing worked. Then I remembered about metta meditation and it took just half an hour to feel the difference. So, in case you don’t already know, let me tell you what’s it all about and how it’s done.
Loving-kindness meditation is all about pure, unconditional love. It’s about wishing yourself and others well. It’s not based on judging whether you deserve it or not, just giving love to yourself because it feels so good to be loved. Now, I know that it might sound a bit narcissistic, but trust me, nothing like it. Because to be able to open to others implies you open to yourself first. And in order to accept and love people, you must first accept and love yourself, right? Right. Unconditionally. And that takes a little time and practice.
So, let’s say you have some troubles – may be at work, with someone, or regarding anything else – that give you a hard time. You reflect on the issue, but you just can’t find the right way to deal with it. What you normally do, is put all of your attention in the situation, putting all else on the back burner. And when your attention goes, your energy flows. One of the things that could help you deal with that more easily, is, of course, meditation. Any meditation would normally do, but the power of metta is that it makes you forget why you were worried about in the first place. Metta is an expression of love, kindness, care, and tenderness to people. All people, you included.
Metta meditation is basically a repetition of a few phrases (usually three, but not necessarily), directing them at different people – first yourself and then others. To start the practice, sit comfortably. Start as with any other meditation, by observing your breathing, you may even count if it helps for your concentration. Make a body scan, just observing the different body parts and organs. Notice the blood and fluid flowing in your system, the sensations on the skin. If any thoughts pop up, don’t follow them, just gently let them go. Get back to your breathing, this helps to focus. Try to relax as much as possible and when you believe you are ready, focus on your heart center. It helps if you visualize green – be and breathe green, as this is the color of the Heart chakra. Look for the compassion that dwells in each one of us. Breathe in and out your heart center, focus on that area only and feel the warmth in your heart. Then pick some phrases that would be relevant to you and repeat them three times. These could be:
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be free from suffering.
You may add some more or use only one. It’s up to you.
Then think of a person that really brings your compassion to a whole new level. It could be your significant other, your child, a friend, a pet, anyone who could make your heart melt. Use the same phrases for them, transforming them. Wish them to be happy, healthy and free from suffering. Repeat three times. Then think of someone you see regularly, but you feel nothing particular for them – neither positive, nor negative feeling. Wish them the same. So far so good, but then comes the challenge. Think of someone you are in conflict with and then try to wish them all the same – to be happy, healthy and free from suffering. That’s the part you’ll find the most difficult. And probably you’ll find yourself being dishonest or just not wishing them that with all your heart. But it’s all a part of the practice, so just do your best and see how it goes.
When finished wishing everybody well, it’s time for some visualization. Imagine that with every inhale, your heart center becomes bigger and bigger, that it feels warmer and warmer, and with every exhale, spread that energy out in the world. Feel the light beaming from you, filling up the entire room, building, city, then the world.
Well, that’s about it. When you feel down, depressed, confused, or just blue, go metta. Just open your heart for people, feel the bliss of spreading love and forget all your worries in the process. Give it a shot.