Loving kindness meditation, or ‘Metta’ meditation, is about expressing compassion, love and kindness towards ourselves and others. Unlike other meditations, your mind will be very active during this practice.
During the meditation, you picture people in your mind and send positivity and kindness to them. Generally, you begin with yourself, then extend to people in your life and then go beyond to people that you don’t know. The idea is to direct the same feelings of compassion, love and kindness to all. As you focus on each person, you can repeat mantras such as ‘May you be safe’ and ‘May you be healthy’.
This meditation can help you to let go of any negative feelings and foster a sense of goodwill. It encourages you to express compassion towards yourself and empathy towards others.
Research has found that loving kindness meditation can offer the following benefits:
• It can make you less critical of yourself
• It can help increase positivity and reduce negative thoughts
• It can decrease pain such as back pain and migraines
• It is also known to boost resilience
• And importantly, it can increase your empathy for people you don’t know well
Loving kindness meditation is very flexible and can be adapted as you like. One variation of the meditation invites you to visualise spaces rather than individual people. Begin with yourself, then extend to the room you’re in, your street, your neighbourhood, your city, your country and finally the whole world. Another variation will ask you to extend your focus to animals and nature as well as people.
There are many guided loving kindness meditations available online that you can follow. You could also do it as self-guided meditation.
Whether you’re having a bad day, struggling to let go of a negative experience or want to feel more connected to others, loving kindness meditation can help.