Metta Bhavana meditation
Metta Bhavana Meditation or Loving Kindness Meditation is one of the most fulfilling and satisfying meditations we can do.
There are a few methods and ways to practice Metta Bhavana Meditation, the method I describe below I find works wonderfully for me. It is one of visualisation.
I was a Buddhist monk in Northern Thailand and after many years and thousand of hours of meditation practice training with some of the great meditation masters, my hundreds of mosquito bites on my bald head were not in vain, I have found this is the most suitable way to practice Metta Bhavana Meditation for my western mind
The Three Methods to create Loving Kindness in your Heart
The method we will be using today is one of visualisation, however is just one of the three ways to practice which will achieve loving kindness in the heart. Reflecting and auditory are the other two methods used to create the feeling of loving kindness.
Reflect on the positive qualities of yourself or a loved one will ensure loving kindness to flourish with in the heart.
Using a mantra is the auditory approach and an example could simple be the words “loving kindness”
The First thing we need to do is find the love from within ourselves. Now I understand that may sound a little scary to some but Visualisation is a great way to achieve love inside our hearts. And we all have something we love, something that will bring that feeling back when you start to think deeply enough about it. For me this is my adopted stray dog Marley and the crazy fun things he gets up to.
If your still finding difficulty thinking of something that your really love this much, then try hitting this link 7 wonders of life, it will help you find something wonderful in your life to feel that loving kindness and to help with the practice. Now that we have our object of focus, its time to relax and start meditating.
Let’s start Meditating
First of all let’s find a comfortable place somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Now sitting in a comfortable position with a straight spine, gently relax your shoulder and neck muscles and slowly close your eyes. Take a few long deep breaths and feel yourself relaxing.
Let’s start by calmly watching your breathing, don’t disturb your breathing, just let it be natural.
Breathing in, be aware your breathing,
Breathing out, be aware your breathing out. Count one.
Try to do this for a count of five. Alternatively take long deep breaths to calm and relax your whole mind and body.
Now we are relax
Bring your object of love to the forefront of your mind and begin to feel the love you have for it/them, really start to explore the feeling, that feeling of love.
Don’t worry if you feel a resistance or a little silly at first, be kind to yourself and be patient. Try to find where the feeling is coming from, do you notice how the feeling grows the more you explore it. Again don’t panic if you feel resistance to this, it is all ok, it just means a little more patience and kindness towards yourself is needed.
Now feel that love start to consume you, feel it’s warmth, is your smile hurting you cheeks yet.
If you are having trouble visualising, please still use loving kindness with yourself, this is not going to be easy for some. Tell yourself it’s ok, we can have another go later. Always be patient and kind towards yourself and even that will be practicing loving kindness.
Project that love
Once we have the feeling of love flowing within ourselves, it’s time to send out our love to others. We now use a mantra with our loving kindness, to truly send out our positive vibration to the chosen person.
First we start with ourselves. Repeat this between 5 and 10 times to yourself, or out loud that’s entirely up to you.
May I be happy
May I be free from metal suffering and distress
May I be free of physical pain and suffering
May I be peaceful and at ease
Now we are going to give that love from our heart, that loving kindness to someone else other than ourselves.
The Four Types of Persons to develop loving-kindness towards
• A respected, beloved person – such as a spiritual teacher
• A dearly beloved – which could be a close family member or friend
• A neutral person – somebody you know, but have no special feelings towards, e.g a person who serves you in a shop
• A hostile person – someone you may be having difficulty with
Starting with yourself, then systematically sending loving-kindness from person to person in the above order will have the effect of breaking down the barriers between the four types of people and yourself. This will effectively break down the divisions within your own mind, the source of much of the conflict we experience.
May (insert name) be happy
May (insert name) be free from suffering and distress
May (insert name) be free of physical pain and suffering
May (insert name) be peaceful and at ease
If you find your mind wanders or you notice your loving kindness looses it ferocity, at this point always be kind and patient with yourself, slowly return to the original object of focus, take a few deep breaths and start again. once you have established the feeling again in your heart, continue with the mantra.
I wish you all the love and happiness on your meditation journey