carry it in your heart

Metta Bhavana is the practice of cultivating lovingkindness. The lovingkindness meditation is a wonderful way to bring love into the world while addressing the complicated feelings of anger and resentment. This is a practical mediation for people who have never meditated, as well as those who have devoted their life to mediation. Whenever I feel I need to give or receive love in my life, I practice this meditation. This practice is devoted to giving love to oneself, and then eventually spreading it outward to all beings.

The most challenging aspect of this meditation is sending love to a person who provokes you in some way, someone who may have poor intentions. Not everyone has the courage and grace to show forgiveness.  However, this is the key to letting go of the things that don't serve you. I believe this piece of metta encourages a huge amount of personal growth. The beautiful thing about the lovingkindness meditation is the challenge of loving everyone, because everyone, including yourself, has done both right and wrong in the world.

There are many variations of the lovingkindness meditation. Please make it your own by changing the lines to reflect what you feel you need to send out, and what you may receive in return.  

Find a comfortable place to sit. It does not need to be completely silent, but it should be a location where no one will interrupt you. Lightly close your eyes, and in a seated "crisscross apple sauce" position, rest your hands lightly on your knees.  Begin by taking five consistent deep breaths in and out. Let your mind quiet down, leaving the outside world on the outside. Continue to breath deeply, thinking how it feels to embody love.

With the intention of acceptance, focus inward on the love you have for yourself. State the following:

May I be happy
May I be healthy and safe
May I live with ease
May I love myself as I am and be free from suffering

Take a moment to sit with the feeling of self-love before selecting someone who means a great deal to you. This could be a family member or or a friend whom you hold close to your heart. When you are ready to wish this person good health and well-being, state the following: 

May you be happy
May you be healthy and safe
May you live with ease
May you be free from judgment and suffering

Sit with this feeling of love for this person for a moment before selecting someone who challenges you. Once you have this person in mind, state the following:

May you be happy
May you be healthy and safe
May you live with ease
May you be free from judgment and suffering

Now bring an acquaintance to your attention who you crossed paths with that day, or maybe the previous day.  At the end of the day, I like to think about the positive interactions with people that brought me joy. This includes the interactions with people whom I may not know. From your interactions, choose someone you think could use more love and positive energy in their life. Once you have that person in mind, repeat the lines:

May you be happy
May you be healthy and safe
May you live with ease
May you be free from judgment and suffering

You have control over how short or long a lovingkindness mediation you practice. From here, some choose to send love to the people in their general area, their community, state, country, the world, and even the universe. This is a decision you should make before you begin the meditation, so you do not interrupt the intention by scrambling to make that decision. The same lines can be repeated for each group. The lovingkindness meditation always leaves me with a positive feeling, I hope you experience the same results!

 

For more information about Metta Bhavana visit the Wildmind!

 

Phoebe Axtman