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What Is Loving, Kindness Meditation? And How To Practice It.

woman meditating with her hand on chest and eyes closed

Loving-kindness meditation, also known as Metta meditation, is a type of meditation that focuses on developing feelings of love, kindness, and compassion towards oneself and others. The mindfulness practice originated in ancient India and has been used for thousands of years in Buddhist traditions. It is a powerful tool for cultivating positive emotions, reducing stress, and improving overall well-being.

The practice involves repeating specific phrases or affirmations that evoke positive emotions, such as "May I be happy," "May I be safe," "May I be healthy," "May I live with ease," and "May all beings be happy." These phrases can be directed towards oneself, loved ones, neutral people, difficult people, and eventually all beings.

This practice helps to break down the barriers of separation that often exist between people and create a sense of connection and unity. It also helps to cultivate positive emotions that can counteract negative emotions like anger, fear, and anxiety.

Benefits of Loving-Kindness Meditation

There are numerous benefits to practicing loving-kindness meditation. Here are some of the most common benefits:

  1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety: LKM has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels by increasing positive emotions like love, kindness, and compassion.

  2. Improves Well-Being: This practice helps cultivate positive emotions, leading to an overall sense of well-being and happiness.

  3. Enhances Positive Relationships: Practicing LKM can improve relationships by promoting feelings of love, kindness, and compassion towards others.

  4. Increases Self-Love and Self-Acceptance: The practice helps to cultivate self-love and self-acceptance by focusing on positive affirmations towards oneself.

  5. Boosts Empathy and Compassion: By practicing loving-kindness meditation, one can develop greater empathy and compassion towards others, leading to more positive social interactions.

  6. Improves Mental Health: This practice has been shown to improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How to Practice Loving-Kindness Meditation

Loving-kindness meditation can be practiced in many different ways. Here is a simple guide to get started:

  1. Find a quiet and comfortable place where you won't be disturbed. Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight, and your hands resting on your lap.

  2. Begin by focusing on your breath. Take a few deep breaths in and out, and then allow your breath to settle into its natural rhythm.

  3. Repeat the following phrases silently to yourself or out loud:

  • May I be happy

  • May I be safe

  • May I be healthy

  • May I live with ease

  1. As you repeat each phrase, imagine sending love, kindness, and compassion towards yourself. Visualize yourself surrounded by a warm, glowing light that represents these positive emotions.

  2. After a few minutes, move on to someone you love deeply. Repeat the same phrases, replacing "I" with their name or "you." Visualize them surrounded by the same warm, glowing light.

  3. Next, think of someone you feel neutral towards, such as a stranger or acquaintance. Repeat the same phrases, replacing the name with "they" or "them." Visualize them surrounded by the same warm, glowing light.

  4. Move on to someone you find difficult to love or have negative feelings towards.


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