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Metta or Loving Kindness Meditation

Metta or Loving Kindness Meditation

September 28, 20134 min read

Metta is Betta…

metta is betta

Seeing this slogan on a t-shirt this week it inspired me to find out more about this common yoga phrase – what is Metta?  I have often heard of ‘Metta’ and the ‘Loving Kindness Meditation’ but why is it called Metta – what does this mean?  So with a quick Google search I found Metta embodies Ahimsa.

Metta is a Buddhist term for kindness.  The full definition includes; loving kindness, friendship, goodwill, compassion for all things, and non-violence.

It embodies the idea of pure compassion – without expectations or judgement.  I have found a new mantra and word to love. – Metta definitely is Betta.

The ideals behind the Metta meditation is to begin to change the world for the better by starting with your thoughts.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 2:35 offers this statement on Ahimsa; “When the yogin is grounded in the virtue of non-harming all enmity is abandoned in his presence”.

Recognizing that our thoughts inspire our words and our actions and can therefore begin to shape the world around us. Practicing the Metta or Loving Kindness Meditations have been attributed to help with Insomnia, Chronic Pain, Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Depression.

Practicing the Metta or Loving Kindness Meditation

This meditation typically has three parts:

Mental purification or centering.
Verse for wishing others well ofter starting with yourself and radiating out to include those you respect, love and even those who you find difficult to understand or perhaps feel hostility towards.
Verse to share these feelings of loving-kindness and compassion with all beings.

So here is my version of a the Loving Kindness Meditation, one that is simple and easy to reflect on and repeat in a meditation practice. Practise and begin to spread these feelings of compassion throughout the world.

Loving Kindness Meditation – Metta Meditation

Begin to focus on your “heart center”, that place in the center of your ribs. Breathe in and out from that area, as if you are breathing from the heart.

As you breathe in and out from the heart center, begin by generating a kind feeling toward yourself. Notice and feel any areas that block this feeling of peace from spreading through your body, either mentally or physically. Then drop beneath that to the place where we care for ourselves, where we want strength and health and safety for ourselves.

Continuing to breathe in and out.

Krista Strayer

Say or think these phrases several times.

May I be safe,
May I be happy just as I am.
May I be peaceful with whatever is happening.
May I be healthy and strong.
May I be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, and with ease.

Next, think about someone that you respect. A mentor, elder, parent or teacher…

Repeat the phrases for them…

May they be safe
May they be happy just as they are.
May they be peaceful with whatever is happening.
May they be healthy and strong.
May they live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully and with ease.

After feeling this unconditional love for one you respect and admire, next think about someone who is a dear friend and repeat the phrases for them, remembering to breathe in and out of your heart center.

Now move to a neutral person, someone for whom you feel neither strong like nor dislike. As you repeat the phrases, allow yourself to feel tenderness towards them.

Now move to someone you have difficulty with, or have hostile feelings, or resentments. Repeat the phrases for this person. If you have difficulty doing this, you can say before the phrases, “To the best of my ability I wish that you be….” If you begin to feel ill will toward this person, return to the benefactor and let the loving-kindness arise again. Then return again to this person.

Let the phrases spread through your whole body, mind, and heart.

After the difficult person, radiate loving kindness out to all beings. Stay in touch with the ember of warm, tender loving-kindness at the center of your being, and begin to visualize or engender a felt sense of all living beings.

May all beings in the air, on land, and in the water be safe, happy, healthy, and free from suffering.

Adopting this Mindfully…

This meditation practise can begin with the first verse – repeat this to yourself several times for several days. Once you are comfortable with this begin to add on the next verse.


Special Thanks to Barbara Downey and Michelle Kinsley for sharing their version of this with me many moons ago which has brought peace and compassion to my life.

Ahimsabenefits of loving kindness meditationBuddhismloving kindness meditationmetta non-violence meditationPatanjali’s Yoga Sutra
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