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    Lovingkindness Meditation Basics

   
    Questions    
   


1. What is Lovingkindness Meditation?
2. How do you start? What do I do?
3. When and how long do you practice?
4. What are the Benefits?
5. What additional reading material do you recommend?
6. What if I get stuck or have questions?



   
    1. What is Lovingkindness Meditation?    
   


Lovingkindness Meditation also called Metta Meditation is a form of Meditation that aims to cultivate unconditional love to all beings. In the practice one starts with oneself and then gradually expands love and kindness towards all beings. In the practice of Metta meditation, one recites specific words and phrases to generate a "boundless love". This love starts with oneself and then expands out towards all sentient beings. It is a love or feeling of warmth and kindness, that is not limited to or by individuals, religion, class or space.
Lovingkindness Meditation has its origins in Buddhism. The Buddha taught it to its monks because they were frightened to meditate in a forrest at night. He gave instructions which have been recorded in the Metta Sutta

Ever since People have been doing lovingkindness meditation for over 2500 years.

You can read more about Metta and Lovingkindness in an article from Sharon here

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    2. How do I start? What do I do?    
   


The practice is easy.
Sit comfortably, relax and empty your mind. When you are ready repeat these four phrases:

- May I live in safety
- May I be happy
- May I be healthy
- May I live with ease

If your mind wanders come back to the phrases. Try to feel them.
We start by extending the wishes to ourselves and then move on through six categories:

1. Ourselves
2. A benefector
3. A good friend
4. A neutral person

5. An enemy or person you have difficulties with
6. All beings

You can find a short guided meditation from Sharon here (click on the play button)
Or you can listen to the long guided meditation mp3 version.

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    3. When and how long do you practice?    
   


Try to sit down for a couple of minutes each day in a part of a "formal sitting". The amount of time is up to you - 5 -10-20 minutes or more. Over time you may be able to increase your sitting time.
In addition you can use the phrases throughout the day.... when you are driving, shopping, waiting in line etc.

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    4. What are the Benefits?    
   


There are a lot of studies being done (as with meditation in general) that look scientifically at the benefits. Sharon talks about a particular study on back pain management in her post to this group.

In Buddhist texts the advantages are listed as follows:

  • He who practices ‘METTA’ sleeps happily & sleeps immediately on closing his eyes.

  • As he goes to sleep with a loving heart, he awakes with an equally loving heart.

  • He will not have bad dreams, either he falls into ‘ deep sleep’ or have pleasant dreams.

  • He becomes dear to all human beings. As he loves other, so do others love him.

  • He becomes dear to non-human beings as well. Animals are also attracted to him.

  • He becomes immune from poison fire & weapons. These do not affect him.

  • 'METTA’ leads to quick mental concentration.

  • Invisible deities protect him because of the power of his ‘METTA’.

  • ‘METTA’ tends to beautify his facial expressions. His face becomes serene.

  • He dies peacefully. Even after death, his serene face reflects his peaceful death. Since a person with ‘METTA’ dies happily, he will be born in a blissful state. He will be born is a ‘Brahmin realm’

( Anguttara Nikaya, 11:16)

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    5. What material do you recommend?    
   


Sharon's book Lovingkindness: The revolutionary art of happiness
and her audio tape:Lovingkindness Meditation are wonderful starting points.

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    6. What if I have additional questions or get stuck?    
   


That is what the group is for... ask away or comment on your experiences. We look forward to your posts.

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