The Loving Kindness meditation, taught by the Buddha, is to teach
selfless or altruistic love. Buddha said that “Hatred cannot
coexist with loving-kindness, and dissipates if supplanted
with thoughts based on loving-kindness.”
This easy but very profound meditation can help you to make friends with yourself, give you greater capacity for empathy with other people, reduce your animosity, open your heart, and boost your capacity for love.
Learn here this meditation to teach you loving acceptance of
yourself and others.
1. Sit in a relaxed but alert posture.
2. Focus your intention. Remember that during this meditation you want to get in touch with your own heart and your innate feelings of goodness.
3. Let your mind and body relax. Let go of any thoughts that are currently preoccupying you.
4. Recall a situation in which you felt a complete sense of well-being and contentment. Recall exactly where you were, who you were with, and precisely how you felt. Take time to reestablish that scene, and feel the sensations in your body.
5. Find words that describe the feelings of well-being you had. You might choose words such as contentment, well-being, happiness, delight, ease–whichever feel most fitting.
6. Let go of the details of the remembered scene. At the same time, continue to pay attention to the feelings of well-being that accompanied the scene. Remain with the sensation of well-being, and allow yourself to feel it intensely. Let the words and feelings arise together.
7. As you experience the well-being, repeat to yourself the phrase, “May I be happy,” or “May I experience ease and contentment.”
8. Recall a friend or someone who has shown kindness toward you. Begin with someone for whom you feel kindness. It is better to recall a friend than a lover or family member. Keep the image of that person in your mind.
9. Recall the feelings of well-being or happiness you generated in the first part of this meditation (steps 1 – 8). Let those feelings of goodness move to the area around your heart.
10. As you are experiencing those feelings of well-being from your heart center, let them radiate to the person you were thinking about.
11. Recite the same phrases you repeated before, this time saying, “May he/she experience ease and contentment,” or “May he/she be filled with loving kindness.”
12. When you feel some familiarity with radiating loving kindness to people you love, gradually extend the feeling to others: neighbors, family, work colleagues, animals.
12. Gradually extend the feeling further, to people you find difficult–those who have power over you, people who might dislike you, or those you feel negative toward.
14. If you are unwilling to extend the feeling of goodness in this part of the meditation, don’t worry. This is natural.
15. When you feel that resistance, try to generate the feeling of loving kindness. If you can’t generate positive feelings, don’t force it; be gentle and patient with yourself.
16. After 5-10 minutes of working with this loving-kindness meditation, sit quietly and reflect on your experience. Having engaged all of your emotions in a new way, contemplate what you have learned.
Adapted from The Meditation Year, by Jane Hope (Storey Books, 2001). Copyright (c) 2001 by Jane Hope. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.
Adapted from The Meditation Year, by Jane Hope (Storey Books, 2001).