An Awesome Loving Kindness Meditation
“Discover Your Worthiness” with one of the stars of “The Secret” Lisa Nichols
Loving kindness meditation, or Metta in Buddhism, is focussed on sharing empathy love and kindness with yourself and your fellow beings.
It is slightly different from other forms of meditation in that it aims to generate certain feelings within you, rather than simply clearing the mind and promoting a state of “nothingness”. ( Although many people would say that what is left when a state of nothingness has been found and all the noise and illusion of the world has been removed is simply the truth….loving kindness.
It also has a long history of religious tradition, dating back to the Buddha.
Ex LA Lakers basketball player Ron Artest was so convinced of the power of loving kindness (or Metta) that he changed his name to Metta World Peace. Top marks to Ron 🙂
Remember, it’s difficult to love others fully if you haven’t begun with loving yourself first and foremost.
“I’m the example, I’m the first example of how the world is supposed to love me, and I have to give them the best example ever.” – Lisa Nichols
Why A Loving Kindness Meditation?
The goal of a loving kindness meditation is to reach a mental state of peace, acceptance and empathy. In Buddha’s teachings, it is referred to as a pure state of mind – a level of non-self, or anatta. People who have reached this state of mind can transfer the feelings to other people, they emanate a feeling of calm and tranquillity so strong that it is contagious, and even the most hateful of men will be affected by its power.
Loving kindness has more of a developmental structure to it than other types of meditation. The emphasis is on growing as a person and learning compassion, empathy and friendliness. It’s almost like a step programme. Roughly, the stages are:
- Learn to love yourself
- Learn to love an acquaintance
- Learn to love a stranger
- Learn to love an enemy
A Loving kindness meditation is an advanced method of meditation training. A lot of what is discussed within the tradition will sound like nonsense to the untrained meditator.
How to practice a Loving Kindness Meditation
You can use any position, technique or type of meditation in your loving kindness goal, but some are more effective than others. The typical lotus, or Buddha, position is often used by practitioners of loving kindness. It is important to keep balanced, both mentally and physically, while meditating in loving kindness. We want to achieve mindfulness – awareness of everything around us.
Reflective meditation is used to reflect on the good qualities of people that you normally have a hard time seeing. Spend your meditation session focussing on these thoughts.
Visualization techniques can be used to imagine you and your chosen target exchanging a laugh, or sharing a warm feeling together.
Transcendentalism is also used, choose a mantra and repeat.The mantra could be anything that makes you feel loving kindness for the target. ‘we are all one’, or ‘my happiness is your happiness,’ for example.
Steps in Loving Kindness Programme
The first thing to do is learn to appreciate and love yourself. This can be a major barrier for many people – but this is where it begins.
Once you have learnt to love yourself you can learn to love others. The stages of learning to love others are carried out in this order:
- A close friend or family member (atipiya)
- An acquaintance that you think highly of (piya)
- A neutral character. Maybe the postman or a shopkeeper (majjhata)
- Someone you do not like (apiya)
- An enemy (veri)
The idea is to dedicate meditation sessions to focus on an individual in this order. Once you feel you have achieved loving kindness for the individual you move on to the next stage.
Loving kindness is an escape from the physical. A truly successful meditation session would be one where the body ceases to exist to you. Let it be washed away in time and space while keeping your mind alive and focussed.
Using A Loving Kindness Meditation techniques in day to day life
Any form of thoughts of loving kindness throughout the day will slowly help you achieve the goal of mindfulness. You don’t need to be meditating for these thoughts to be effective. You might have a bad experience at a shop and try to think back to your meditation the previous night, and the feeling of empathy and love for all around. This will let you let go of your current anger, without even meditating.
Advanced practitioners of loving-kindness have reached a level where they can draw on their meditation subconsciously. It isn’t even a conscious act. Loving kindness will be so entangled in their being that it takes no effort to exert it.
The Four Directions Technique (Advanced)
This technique is known as directional pervasion. Imagine that your body is the centre of a huge compass.
Focus on sending out your feelings in the four directions -north, south, west and east.
West and east refer to every living thing on Earth. After finishing the five stages of individual meditation you are ready to extend this feeling to every living thing. When you meditate picture yourself emanating good feelings throughout every being, whether they are an enemy or an unknown person.
The next direction is south.
Feel yourself emanating loving kindness into the ground, through the worms, organisms and fungi that live beneath us. You will know when you are successful with this; you will be able to feel it internally.
The final stage is north. Let your loving kindness emanate above you, into to the sky, the planes and the birds.
Once you have mastered direction pervasion you will move onto non-specific pervasion. A universal love that emanates from you. Reaching non-specific pervasion is like reaching the summit of the loving kindness mountain. Good feelings are emitted spontaneously and without direction, it emanates all around without any specific focus.