I first heard a loving-kindness meditation, or metta meditation, in a yoga class, and it’s one of my favorites. It is meant to cultivate compassion, both toward ourselves and to others. You start with yourself because without a sense of compassion toward yourself, it’s hard to give it to anyone else. Below, I’m listing how I heard it that first time, but I’ve seen it many different ways since then, and I’m providing a couple links, which also provide background.
THIS WEEK’S MEDITATION:
May I be happy.
May I love and be loved.
May I be free of suffering.
May I find peace.
Then repeat the form substituting in place of “I”:
- someone for whom you feel grateful
- a beloved friend or family member
- a difficult person
- all beings
Really, you can do it for as many people in your life as you’d like as well as any others you’d like to include (e.g., whole populations, animals, etc.).
Here is a simple version from Greater Good that you can even do with kids.
Here is a full explanation and an alternative from the Center for the Contemplative Mind in Society.
You may notice that this is a full week (plus one day). I think that’s appropriate as this is a meditation that can take some practice. Also, in giving daily meditations some thought, I think more of them benefit from being practiced for at least a few days to both see if you like them and to get more reward from the practice, rather than switching on a daily basis.
Until next time, have a great week!