October 6, 2022

Style Hyme

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How to Practice Metta (Loving Kindness) Meditation in 7 Steps

5 min read
Practice Metta Meditation Steps Stylehyme

By now, you’ve probably been “sold” on the incredible benefits of metta meditation. Now let’s take a look at how to practice loving-kindness (or metta) meditation, in 7 simple steps.

1. Assume Your Meditation Position

Find a quiet place, where you can practice undisturbed. Assume your favorite position for meditation, whether it be sitting cross-legged on a cushion, or upright in a chair, even standing or lying down. The important thing is that your back is straight but relaxed, your spine erect but not rigid, and that you are comfortable and free from pain.

 2. Breathe and Relax

Metta meditation is best practiced when in a relaxed and meditative state. So start with a few minutes of simple breathing meditation. Breathe in deep, and as you do, scan your body for any stress, pain or tension. Breathe out slowly, and with each exhalation, release any stress or tension that you feel.

Adjust your posture and position as needed, in order to be stable and comfortable. Keep your attention focused on your breath. With each breath, let yourself sink deeper and deeper into total relaxation.

3. The Metta Chant: Start with Yourself

This is the foundation of metta practice. Once your body is relaxed, and your mind is serene, begin your metta practice by silently chanting these words to yourself:

  • May I be peaceful?
  • May I be happy?
  • May I be safe?
  • May I be free from suffering?
  • May I awaken to my true nature?

The practice of metta begins with cultivating loving-kindness toward ourselves. Why? Because we cannot give what we do not have. We cannot be truly loving and compassion to others, unless we can be truly loving a compassionate to ourselves, first.

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As you chant these words, imagine yourself smiling, happy, totally free and at peace. Visualize a state of complete safety and well-being. Imagine that you are perfectly at home in a benevolent universe, at one with all creation, with no threat, Let this chant conjure up a vision of perfect joy and serenity. Really see it, and feel it in your bones. Realize that you, as much as anyone else in the universe, deserve

No danger and absolutely nothing to fear love peace and happiness. Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Love and accept yourself for who you are, exactly as you are. After 2-3 minutes or whenever you feel ready, move on to the next step.

4. Send love To Your Loved Ones

Now it’s time to turn outwards, and direct loving-kindness toward others. Start with those closest to you; your partner, your children, your parents and siblings, maybe your closest friends. The people in your

Inner circle, the ones who mean the most to you.

One by one, call them to your mind, as you chant these words:

  • May you be peaceful?
  • May you be happy?
  • May you be safe?
  • May you be free from suffering?
  • May you awaken to your true nature?

As you recite this chant, really see each of your loved ones whole and well, happy and free. Visualize them as having overcome every challenge, obstacle and hindrance. See them safe on the “other shore,” liberated from the suffering of the ego, and awakened to their true, divine, infinite Self.

The aim of metta is cultivate this vision, this desire and wish for all beings but it is easiest to start with the ones closest to you, the people you already care deeply about

 5. Widen the Circle

Now extend your practice beyond your loved ones, to include those you don’t know so well.

This might be your co-workers, neighbors or other casual acquaintances, even random people that you see on the street or in the grocery store. Don’t try to control this too much. Just relax your mind, and chant the metta blessing for whoever comes into your thoughts:

  • May you be peaceful?
  • May you be happy?
  • May you be safe?
  • May you be free from suffering?
  • May you awaken to your true nature?

Again, as you recite these words, be conscious of their full meaning. Whoever comes into your mind, even if it’s a total stranger, realize that they are a spiritual being, just like you.

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They deserve happiness and safety and well-being, just like you. Cultivate a sincere desire for their health, peace of mind, and most of all their spiritual liberation.

6. Include Those Who Have Hurt, Offended You

This might be the most challenging part of metta practice: loving your enemies. Okay, maybe “enemies” is too strong a word but you know what we mean. We’re talking about those people who have hurt you, wronged you, betrayed you, intentionally or unintentionally. The people that make you tense up a little bit whenever you see them or think about them. You know who they are.

Call each one of them into your mind, one at a time, and silently chant:

  • May you be peaceful?
  • May you be happy?
  • May you be safe?
  • May you be free from suffering?
  • May you awaken to your true nature?

As you recite these words, be aware of any resistance that you feel. Is there a part of you that doesn’t mean it? Are you holding onto any trace of anger, pain, frustration or resentment?

If so, you will need to do some forgiveness work as a part of your metta practice? Read our post, How to Forgive, for detailed directions. Practice forgiving those who have hurt you until you can wish them well and really mean it.

7. Include All Beings

Next, widen the circle as far as your imagination can stretch. Extend your metta practice to include all of humanity, all plants and animals, and all living things on Earth and throughout the cosmos.

Chant the following silently to yourself:

  • May all beings be peaceful?
  • May all beings be happy?
  • May all beings be safe?
  • May all beings be free from suffering?
  • May all beings awaken to their true nature?

As you recite these words, let your heart and mind open like a lotus flower in full bloom. In your mind’s eye, see the Earth as it spins through the vastness of space; see the countless trillions of living beings that share this beautiful planet.

Imagine all 8 billion people blessed with peace and safety and freedom; people of every land and culture living together, happily and harmoniously.

See every living thing as a part of the infinite whole, a sacred spark of the One Light, the One Life, the One Consciousness. Hold that vision, see it and feel it and make it real. With practice, the words of the chant may just fall away, as you simply sit and radiate loving-kindness to all creation.

Do this for a few minutes, then conclude your meditation? The whole process should take about 20 minutes or longer if you want. We recommend practicing twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening.


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