FREE SHIPPING TO CANADA AND US FOR ALL ORDERS OVER $175 CDN   We ship from Canada

0

Your Cart is Empty

June 17, 2022

One of the most beautiful meditations we can do to open our hearts and to radiate our love and light out into the world is the metta bhavana meditation, a beautiful practice from the Buddhist tradition.  In English, we may know it better as lovingkindness meditation.

Metta in the ancient Pali language translates to love or lovingkindness in the sense of unconditional, open and free-flowing love.  It’s not about romantic love.  It’s more about gentle care and a desire for well-being for others, no matter who they are, whether or not they walk skillfully in the world.  It also encompasses other qualities such as compassion, empathy, equanimity and joy.  Metta is non-judgemental and non-critical.  And bhavana, also in Pali, means to create space for the metta experience, the cultivation of lovingkindness.

When we cultivate metta, lovingkindness, and offer it to ourselves and to others through this beautiful meditation practice, it will flow more freely through us and creates a more peaceful, loving and joy-filled life for ourselves as well as others. Ultimately this practice is meant to remind us that we are all one and to cultivate a sense of connection.

Metta practice is especially useful when we ourselves are going through pain and turmoil in our lives.  Lovingkindness helps us to open our hearts and to cultivate understanding and compassion.  And it is here that we will find healing as well as profound and enduring happiness.  

Lovingkindness meditation is typically done in 4 stages, beginning by offering lovingkindness to yourself, then to a loved one, a difficult person and finally towards all beings. In the cultural context in which this practice originated, it was assumed that it would be easiest to offer lovingkindness to ourselves first, and then to expand that outward.  In our present day world, this is not always the case. Sometimes it is easiest to offer lovingkindness to a loved one first, to teach our heart how to feel when it is time to offer to ourselves. Start where it makes sense to you.

We gently repeat phrases at each stage that offer meaningful intentions and wishes for wellness.  The phrases can vary.  I’ve found that even the “classical” phrases vary from teacher to teacher.  Below are the phrases that I first learned in my mindfulness yoga teacher training from two ordained Buddhists. I’ve found that these are easy to remember and are good to begin with.  And even if they may feel a bit awkward, they are a means of connection.  Feel free to adjust the phrases to suit your own idea for offering lovingkindness. 

 


PRACTICE LOVINGKINDNESS MEDITATION
Come into a comfortable seated position with your spine tall and your breath relaxed. You may wish to sit on a meditation cushion to keep your spine in its natural curves, for more comfort. Gently close your eyes and perhaps bring your hands together at heart-centre, one on top of the other or in padma mudra.

There are 4 stages to this meditation.  For each stage,  gently repeat the set of phrases below (or your own adaptation) over and over in your mind for as long as feels good (several minutes), and then move onto the next stage.  You may begin directing the phrases to yourself, then to a loved one, to a person who is challenging for you to love, and to all beings everywhere.

Here's what will crack your heart wide open... When you are directing lovingkindness to a particular person, yourself included, hold them in your heart with care, feel them there.  Imagine a sense of their presence…visualize their face, the tone of voice, the places you’ve been with them.  Feel your heart fill up with lovingkindness.  When you are thinking of all beings, try to really feel your heart filled with love and radiate that out into the world.  I like to visualize this as a golden light flying around the world touching on all creatures, on all the people I know, and all the people I don’t know.



To yourself
May I be happy
May I be well
May I be free from suffering
May I be free to grow and thrive


To a friend/loved one
May you be happy
May you be well
May you be free from suffering
May you be free to grow and thrive


To a difficult person in your life
May you be happy
May you be well
May you be free from suffering
May you be free to grow and thrive


To all beings everywhere
May you be happy
May you be well
May you be free from suffering
May you be free to grow and thrive


Notice how you feel as you visualize and direct your loving intentions.

Bring your hands to heart centre. Visualize the candle flame burning within and shining outward. You are love. You are loved.

Bow to your heart to finish.

 

 


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.