Loving-kindness meditation Metta, to fuel Kindness.

Loving-kindness meditation is the best way to generate kindness.

loving-kindness meditation, metta
Concept of Metta is introduced in Buddhism

What is Metta?

Metta in Sanskrit means Loving-kindness. In loving-kindness meditation, Metta, we generate beautiful positive emotion, that delivers happiness, health and wholesomeness. Metta has mighty power. Because, when we are in full flow of Metta emotion, we tend to feel it in our heart, (i.e. chest area in particular), in addition to the mind. In contrast, during breathing meditation, positive emotions will be mostly limited to the mind.
Furthermore, Metta generates compassionate thoughts, which triggers our acts of kindness. As a result, our gratitude, generosity, willingness to help others become a free flow in our daily life.

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Metta is a form of positive energy.

Metta is a form of positive energy, which is another unique characteristic. So that one can transfer Metta energy between human and even animals. Hence, unlike the breathing meditation, which is confined to oneself, Metta meditation can build healthy interaction between oneself and the others, who are closer to the heart and mind of the individual.
The status of our mind will significantly influence the quality and power of this Metta energy. For instance, when our mind is free from ‘greed’ or ‘aversion’ (i.e. ill-will, anger, jealousy, etc.) the quality of Metta energy generated within us will be significantly higher.

Loving-kindness meditation Metta technique.

As a meditation technique, Loving-kindness meditation Metta is quite different from breathing meditation. Unlike in breathing meditation, in which we maintain our awareness of breathing, in Metta meditation, we train our mind to maintain focus on Metta emotion.

In the world of meditation practice, Loving-kindness meditation technique has different versions. Here are few to note:

  1. Tapping into the Loving-kindness of an advanced spiritual figure (e.g. Load Buddha).
  2. Associating with the Metta energy of an individual (e.g. mother) or a group who extend their love and Loving-kindness to you.
  3. Using visualisation technique with chanting.

Developing Metta within yourself.

At this first step, your goal shall be developing Metta energy within your mind and heart. First of all, begin the meditation following manner:

  • Find a place free from disturbances.
  • Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  • (Optional: If you are familiar with breathing meditation, focus on your breathing and maintain focus for about 3 – 5 minutes)

Then you may choose one of the following versions of the methods or mix of them, as next steps.

Version one (chanting):

  • Bring your attention to chant following three sentences silently:

May I be at ease,

May I be happy,

May I be free from pain.

  • Repeat these chanting for about 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Observe the positive, warm, happy feeling developing inside your mind and body.

Version two (worshipping):

  • Bring to your attention the image of Lord Buddha (if you are a Buddhist) or a higher spiritual figure that you have a deep respect. (You shall have a strong faith on this figure and his / her extraordinary love and loving-kindness towards you).
  • Imagine that a spiritual figure is just next to you. Feel the kindness, love and loving-kindness radiating from him/her towards you.
  • After about 5 minutes, you may begin to feel the radiant Metta energy inside your body and mind.
  • Now repeat the chanting introduced in Version one (above)
  • You may continue this meditation technique for 15 minutes or more.
loving-kindness meditation metta
Bring the image of Lord Buddha into your awareness

Version three (tapping into love):

  • Bring to your attention one individual who love you most. (You shall have an unquestionable trust on this individual, and his / her extraordinary love and loving-kindness towards you).
  • Visualise, that individual is sitting next to you. Feel the kindness, love and loving-kindness radiating from him/her towards you.
  • After about 5 minutes, you may begin to feel the radiant Metta energy inside your body and mind.
  • Now repeat the chanting introduced in Version one (above)
  • You may continue this meditation technique for 15 minutes or more.

Expansion of Loving-kindness

Another unique beauty of Loving-kindness meditation, Metta, is that it provides you with ample choices. In other words, you can modify the chanting verses to suit a particular setting. For instance, if you are feeling fear; you may chant; ‘may I be free from fear, may I be feeling happy and contented’. Then, if you are feeling unsafe and insecure; you may adopt the chant with; ‘may I be safe and protected, may I be free from harm’.

What not to do?

During the early stage of Loving-kindness meditation Metta, you may experience some questions outlined below.

Am I following a blind faith? Is this the right meditation technique? 

In the early stages, it is quite natural to feel the chanting process as if it overly ‘mechanical’. Avoid thinking mind, instead maintain awareness into chanting; to follow the word structure of the chant, maintain the same rhythm and more importantly, to keep our concentration with the words.

Could it be as simple as chanting few lines?

This question is possible when you are not relating to the meaning of the words. As you may continue Metta meditation for a few weeks, you may notice, you begin to discover deeper meaning into each word. That is how meditation begins to open up your wisdom.

Am I promoting my selfishness? 

Wishing for safety, happiness and wellbeing of oneself is the starting point of making greater good. Instead of allowing your questioning mind to proliferate thoughts, maintain your awareness into the chanting process. As explained before, meditation will awaken your wisdom to provide convincing answers.

Motivation for meditation can easily be a struggle during early stages of meditation. You may find this article, Blog on Motivation helpful to counter that barrier.

Feeling of Loving-kindness

As you continue Loving-kindness meditation Metta, your mind will gradually settle down into a rhythm of chanting. So, the wondering nature, thinking and questioning nature will fade away. Instead, mind will settle into a feeling of safety and security. Furthermore, a sense of resting, comfort with fulfilling wholesomeness occupy the mind. This the loving-kindness.
As you continue with the practice, you may notice this loving-kindness feeling gradually expand in your heart (chest area), too. During initial stages, maintain you as the primary recipient of loving-kindness. Yet, with maturity, you will learn how to expand this loving-kindness energy to others. This is the most powerful aspect of loving-kindness.

Way forward with Metta

Now you know what Metta meditation is and how to do it.
Following articles will help you to develop meditation into a regular, stable practice, so that you may find the easiest path to enjoy greatest benefits of Metta in daily life.

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Recommended good reads:

This Loving-Kindness Meditation is a Radical Act of Love

Loving-Kindness Meditation

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