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audio meditations

Loving Kindness Meditation (metta meditation)

Let go of anger, feel more connected, and cultivate compassion for yourself and others with this loving-kindness meditation.

  1. Loving Kindness Meditation (metta meditation) 12:21

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Cultivating loving-kindness, or “metta” as it is called in the Pali language, is a fundamental meditation practice. When you’re feeling isolated, resentful, or angry at yourself or other people in your life, this meditation will help you transform that negativity into feelings of compassion, connection, love, and contentment. With time, this practice will change how you relate to yourself and others.

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Transcript

Hello, my name is Chris Saranchock.

Welcome to HelpGuide’s Loving-Kindness meditation.

Let’s start by finding a comfortable position… Being mindful of what your body is saying to you in this moment and what feels right for you.

Either sitting… back straight…. arms resting to your sides… feet flat on the floor.

Or lying down if that’s more comfortable. Arms resting to your sides… palms up and open…

Now close your eyes and turn your awareness to the breath. Not trying to control it… Just breathing naturally…

(pause for breathing)

Feeling the coolness of your breath as you inhale… the way your belly expands…

Feeling the warmth of the breath as you exhale and the way your belly contracts…

(pause for breathing)

Let yourself relax… Sinking deeper into your chair or cushion… Settling into an awareness of your body…

Breathing in… and breathing out…

(long break for breathing)

And now, we’re going to direct thoughts of loving-kindness, first to ourselves, and then to others.

Starting with yourself, silently offer the following phrases. Not trying to force a feeling. Just focusing on the thought…

May I be safe…

May I be happy…

May I be healthy…

May I be filled with love and kindness…

May I find peace…

(pause)

Now repeat the phrases to yourself, once again silently… letting your mind rest in the thought. And if your mind wanders, don’t worry about it. Simply begin again.

May I be safe…

May I be happy…

May I be healthy…

May I be filled with love and kindness…

May I find peace…

(pause)

Now think about someone special to you. Someone who brings a smile to your face.

Maybe it’s a friend or a family member… maybe it’s someone who’s helped you… or someone you don’t even know who inspires you.

Picture that person in your mind… feel their presence, as if they’re right in front of you.

Say their name to yourself. Then silently offer them these phrases.

May you be safe…

May you be happy…

May you be healthy…

May you be filled with love and kindness…

May you find peace…

(pause)

May you be safe…

May you be happy…

May you be healthy…

May you be filled with love and kindness…

May you find peace…

(pause)

Now think of someone neutral… someone you don’t have strong feelings for one way or the other.

Maybe a neighbor, the person who delivers your mail, the checkout clerk at the grocery store… someone you recently passed on the street.

Bring an image of them to mind… and send them lovingkindness.

May you be safe…

May you be happy…

May you be healthy…

May you be filled with love and kindness…

May you find peace…

(pause)

May you be safe…

May you be happy…

May you be healthy…

May you be filled with love and kindness…

May you find peace…

(pause)

If your mind wanders, that’s totally normal. Use it as an opportunity to gently let go and return to the meditation with even more kindness to yourself.

(pause)

Now think of a person you dislike or find difficult. If you’re new to this meditation, you may want to start with someone who won’t trigger too much strong emotion.

Visualize that person and direct your thoughts of lovingkindness toward them.

May you be safe…

May you be happy…

May you be healthy…

May you be filled with love and kindness…

May you find peace…

(pause)

You may feel resentment or hostility, and that’s okay. Don’t try to force your feelings.

Instead, recognize your anger and how it causes your own suffering.

Out of love and compassion for yourself, use it as an opportunity to practice letting go and offer loving-kindness.

May you be safe…

May you be happy…

May you be healthy…

May you be filled with love and kindness…

May you find peace…

(pause)

Now picture all beings that we share this planet with.

May you be safe…

May you be happy…

May you be healthy…

May you be filled with love and kindness…

May you find peace…

(pause)

May you be safe…

May you be happy…

May you be healthy…

May you be filled with love and kindness…

May you find peace…

(pause)

Just continue to breathe, allowing the warmth of compassion and acceptance and loving awareness to fill you up and infuse your whole body.

(pause for breathing)

If you don’t feel anything, that’s okay. Don’t stress. Don’t try to force the feelings, let them come naturally as you practice.

As the acclaimed meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg says in her book “Real Love” “With a clear intention and a willing spirit, sooner or later we experience the joy and freedom that arises when we recognize our common humanity with others and see that real love excludes no one.”

Now, when you’re ready, open your eyes.

And see if you can bring this energy of loving-kindness with you out into the world. When you encounter someone, try giving them a smile. Then see how they respond and how that makes you feel. Being kind doesn’t cost you anything and may bring joy to you and others.

Last updated: October 24, 2022