The Gift of Lovingkindness Meditation

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Lovingkindness meditation is a way of offering friendly kindness to yourself, to others or to the world.
Lovingkindness is based on Buddhist teachings that emphasize compassion, love and kindness. This is also be referred to as Metta meditation. In Lovingkindness meditation, there are phrases to repeat to yourself throughout the meditation.  The phrases below are taken from Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation by meditation teacher, Sharon Salzberg. It is a book that we often recommend for those looking to start or restart a meditation practice.

How to Practice Lovingkindness Meditation

In this practice, phrases are repeated to oneself. Depending on which resource you follow, these may vary somewhat, but the general feeling is the same. The phrases are intended to ground you in offering feelings of love, compassion and kindness.

May I be safe, may I be happy, may I be healthy, may I live with ease.

Or if you are focusing on someone else:

May you be safe, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you live with ease.

You can start by setting a timer for 10 – 20 minutes, sitting comfortably, with a straight spine, and silently repeating the phrases to yourself at a relaxed pace. If you are short on time, start with just 5 minutes. In lovingkindness meditation the repetition of the phrases is the anchor, rather than the breath.

Resources for Lovingkindness Meditation

Many meditation teachers and authors have guided meditations available online to either guide you or provide further information. Below is an audio from Sharon Salzberg to get you started. Of course, there are so many others out there, it might take a few tries to find one that resonates with you.

Here is an example of a way to use lovingkindness in your daily activities from a video project Salzberg developed called Street Lovingkindness:

The above video is an example of how once we are fluent in the phrases and feelings to evoke, even sitting still is not required. Whether sitting on your cushion at home or standing in line at the grocery store, offering lovingkindness to yourself and those around you can be a powerful practice.

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