When you are comfortable with basic meditation instructions, meta-awareness, self-acceptance and letting go of your ego, it is recommended that you incorporate loving-kindness (metta) practice into your meditation.
Ahimsa Meditation hopes that we all can spend some time actively practising nonviolence in your mind.
We can all send wishes of health, happiness, safety and peace to yourself and then to your family and close friends.
We can then extend it to our pets and people you know less. You can follow by sending these wishes to people we have difficulties with. Finish by sending loving – kindness to all living beings.
This is the very essence of loving-kindness meditation. You start reflecting on your own well-being, health, happiness, safety, peace and nonviolent life. Then gradually extend it to all circles of your life to include people and living beings you do not like or do not even know. It is a wonderfully warm and pleasant state of mind that you will develop.
Similarly, your loving-kindness practice can be practised longer with deeper appreciation and gratitude to everyone in your life including friends and family, pets, acquaintances, but also difficult people and the entire world.
Loving-Kindness meditation practice instructions
Therefore, if you want to structure this meditation into steps, there are the following ones that are included in your Metta Bhavana meditation:
- Preparing for meditation by doing a body scan and dedicating some time on concentration on breathing;
- Concentrating your attention on yourself;
- Calling to mind a good friend of yours;
- Thinking of a neutral person (someone you do not know much);
- Turning your attention to a difficult person (a true challenge is to think about them with equanimity);
- Concentrating on all four people (simply spread your loving kindness feelings and thoughts to everyone);
- Allowing your metta to expand outward (and then spread it to the whole world of sentient beings – give your kindness to people in distress, oppressed farmed animals and so on).
How to develop your loving – kindness meditation practice (metta)
You can contemplate on the four beneficial states of mind: loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. It is beneficial to start with loving-kindness and gradually ‘work’ towards feeling a total equanimity. In that way, you will feel calm and emotionally stable.
Acceptance and compassion practice begins from contemplating and wishing well for yourself. Then the practice extends to your family, friends, acquaintances, people you do not like or indifferent to and then the whole world.
Why metta or loving-kindness meditation is important for all of us?
Metta meditation transforms hatred into love, it develops compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. These are regarded as immeasurable characteristics by Buddhists.
Loving-kindness meditation practice brings a lot of benefits:
- you may enjoy a much better sleep;
- you may gain love and appreciation from other living beings;
- your practice helps to protect everyone from violence and violent outbreaks;
- your focus and swift concentration of mind improve;
- you smile more, have better moods and therefore good looks;
- you contemplate not only on good things; as you bring to mind difficult people in your life, you look directly to a reality of your life, therefore many kinds of insights are possible.
We all want well-being. It is about living a rich, full and meaningful life. Peace in our lives represents true acceptance. This unites all living beings and you can send kindness to them all too.