What is Loving Kindness Meditation?
Loving-kindness meditation (LKM), also known as metta meditation, originates from Buddhist traditions. It is an ancient meditative practice used many years ago. The main aim of LKM is to promote unconditional benevolence among people and animals. This includes yourself, your family and friends, your acquaintances and the difficult people in your life. Such benevolence includes feelings of joy, love, trust, gratitude, happiness, appreciation and compassion. Those who frequently practice LKM are more forgiving and connected to others, accepting of self and more. This meditative method is challenging as you are asking yourself to radiate kindness to yourself or to others. It usually takes practice to allow yourself to accept your own self-love or to give it away.
Tips for LKM
Sit cosily for a minimum of a few minutes and close your eyes. Breath in and out deeply for a short while. At the same time, release the tension in your muscles if you feel any.
Imagine Wellness to Self
Picture yourself feeling total emotional and physical wellness and peace. Visualize experiencing agape love for yourself, showing appreciation for yourself, being aware of yourself being just right as you are. Concentrate on this emotion of inner tranquillity and imagine yourself exhaling feelings of stress and inhaling feelings of benevolence.
Reiterate Positive Messages to Self
Reiterate three to four positive and encouraging phrases to yourself. For instances, some messages could be:
- May I be happy and safe.
- May I be strong and healthy.
- May I give and receive love today.
Relax in emotions of self-kindness and warmth for a while. When your focus is disturbed, gently bring it back to your emotion of self-benevolence. Allow these emotions engulf you.
Change your Focus from Self to Others
You can continue with this focus for the entire meditation or alternatively, move your attention to your loved ones in your life. Start with someone you are close to, such as a parent or spouse. Experience your love and gratefulness for them. Continue basking in that feeling for a while. Then bring your attention to other family members like siblings, your neighbours and acquaintances. Next, you can even focus your concentration to people worldwide. In addition, you can focus on people whom you are in disagreement with to foster feelings of forgiveness and inner peace.
Open your Eyes When you are Done
When you are finished with meditating, open your eyes. Remind yourself that you can return to the pleasant feelings that you develop for the entire day. Bask yourself in the feelings of LKM and revisit those feelings by changing your attention and breathing deeply.
Set a Timer (optional)
As you establish a habit of consistent meditation, it may be helpful to use a timer if you are worried of being too deeply in focus for too long.
The below video is a demonstration of LKM in action. While the target audience of the video is for college students, I believe anyone who wishes to have a deeper appreciation of self and others and general relaxation will find the video useful.
LKM may be helpful to people who ruminate about the conflicts they face with difficult persons in their life. It can help foster feelings of forgiveness and peace, as well as mental tranquillity. I definitely recommend this form of meditation to anyone who is struggling with resentment and anger from people who offended and/or hurt them. Being bitter with someone only hurts yourself in the long run as the offender may have long forgotten about the issue at hand while you repeatedly think about the hurt they have inflicted upon you.