Metta meditation (loving kindness meditation) is a simple repetition of a few phrases, but oh…. so much more powerful! We have been repeating a shortened version in class the last few weeks. Many yogis have responded positively and wanted to know more.
Metta meditation has been extensively studied, and its transformative power ranks it the most promising single practice of any explored. As one author says, “I’d put all my money on this one!”
Research demonstrates the incredible power of the loving-kindness meditation:
* deepens social ties
* increases the ability to experience self-compassion
* increases the ability to express compassion
* increases ability to receive compassion from others
* it's empowering to direct well wishes to others
Sustained practice of Metta over time has been shown to:
* decrease stress levels
* increase immune function
* decrease pain & anger
* may even slow aging: compassion meditators have longer telomeres (caps on each strand of DNA) allowing cells to survive longer
A 7 week course in Metta showed:
* significant increase in participants daily experience of positive emotions and their sense of social belonging and connectedness.
Metta meditation is a simple repetition of 4 phrases:
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be free of suffering.
May you be at peace (filled with ease).
Be compassionate about your experience of compassion :) If this meditation feels forced or awkward in the beginning, that’s okay. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to pretend to feel anything that isn’t genuine.
Sit on a blanket, sit against a wall, or lay over a blanket or block.
Begin by focusing on your breath. When you notice your mind wandering, gently call it back. Begin this meditation with yourself …. offer yourself the 4 line mantra (see above).
As you breath in, say a single line of the mantra to yourself. There is no need to pretend or try too hard. Then say the next 3 lines.
Second round: now call to mind a loved one, perhaps someone who has shown a great deal of compassion & kindness to you. Holding him or her in your awareness, offer the same wishes you offered to yourself.
Third round: now call to mind a neutral person, one of the hundreds you may pass each day. No need to dig …. just the first one that comes to mind and offer up the same good wishes. Breathing in and out, line by line, continue to expand and direct your experience of loving kindness.
Fourth round: now call to mind a challenging person. Maybe someone who hurt your feelings or with whom there has been a struggle. As best you can, offer this person the same mantra, breath by breath.
Finally, let your awareness expand to embrace all beings everywhere. Offer up the same mantra to this vast sea of life.
Please pass this along to anyone you think would benefit.
From my heart to your heart, Lynn