It ‘s one of the most beautiful meditations in my opinion because it allows you to cultivate very important inner aspects such as unconditional love, kindness, compassion, benevolence, etc … both to themselves and others. If you want to know more about Metta meditation, I invite you to get comfortable and read this article. You will learn what the word Metta means, the benefits that this practice gives and above all how to do it.
What is Metta meditation?
This meditation was one of the so-called five divine dwellings, which is one of the main teachings of the Buddha. This practice is fundamental for the type of empathy required by therapeutic work. In one demonstration an expert Tibetan monk, who practiced the meditation of loving kindness, was able to recognize subtle changes in the facial expression of the emotion at a level that was positioned two standard deviations above the average, a capacity that would come in handy. To any therapist.
There is evidence to show that compassion is also useful for us. In a recent study, some students were studied while watching a film about Mother Teresa of Calcutta performing compassionate actions. These showed an increase in S-IgA1 in their saliva, indicating an improvement in the functioning of the immune system, and this also occurred in students who disapproved of Mother Teresa and her work.
The Benefits of the practice of Metta meditation
According to Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen master who has contributed so much to the spread of Mindfulness (meditation of awareness) in the West, the practice of Metta meditation helps to:
Sleep better: when you go to bed with a calm mind, a more open heart and a greater love for ourselves and others, rest is much more effective.
Waking up in the morning feeling good and with a light heart: if you practice the morning, start the day in the name of love, which greatly improves everyday life.
Improving relationships: when you are constantly practicing, you realize that slowly relationships with others improve. Metta fights ego, hatred, anger and develops compassion, love, kindness, all aspects that greatly affect relationships with others, making them better.
Being kind to animals: we often forget that we too are animals and treat others to be inferior. Thanks to meditation Metta this attitude slowly disappears to give way to compassion and love for all beings.
Live more in the present: when the mind is calm and full of love, you live more in the present, you fight psychological time, and you appreciate the here and now more.
How to practice Metta meditation
Below are some very important steps. Initially, it is better to follow them all. With time, however, you can dedicate each session to a single step. The preparation is essential, and I also recommend following the first step (love for ourselves).
This meditation should be practiced, better if with constancy and good frequency (sometimes a week …): the results could be slow to arrive, or arrive immediately, depending on the type of work you are doing, the important thing is not to be overwhelmed by discouragement in case you do not get the desired results, or you struggle with this meditation.
And if during this practice you realize or find out that you have pain, anger, or something very deep that you can not examine and overcome yourself, I highly recommend asking for help!
Preparation for Metta meditation
You need to find a time when you will not be disturbed, or better, take some time and ask who is at home with you or near you not to bother you for a while because you have to meditate. Ask him kindly and tell him that’s what you need. Then find a suitable place where you feel comfortable, and that allows you not to be disturbed for the duration of the practice.
These two aspects of practice in Meditation, the online course to learn to meditate in a single month, I define the sacred moment and the sacred place. In the program, I also explain their importance and how to find them in their daily lives.
Once found, sit in a position suitable for meditation and concentrate on the flow of air entering and coming out of the nose.
The stages of meditation Briefly:
- Breath of the heart
- Sincere love and without reserve: the mentor/senior/ parent
- Sincere love: the friend
- Love for those who are neutral to us
- Love for those we do not know
- Love for the enemy/hostile
- Love for Existence
Let’s go and see them one by one:
1) Breath of the heart
Get comfortable, it’s important! The positions that I recommend is the easy position, the half lotus, the position of the lightning, but whatever position makes you feel good is the right one. Just be careful not to choose a position that “helps” you fall asleep.
Follow the path of your breath, notice all the muscles that accompany it … the rib cage, the shoulders, the belly. Follow the path of the breath even when it comes out. Grow awareness of the breath.
Bring your awareness completely to your heart, try to feel the space that the physical heart organ occupies within your body, and to listen to its beats.
Now focus on your fourth chakra and imagine, visualize or feel that the whole motor of breathing is your heart chakra: breathing starts and ends there, and as it happens, it purifies the air that you inhale and exhale. Continue until you feel a heat emanating from the center of your chest.
2) Love for ourselves
When you feel it, mentally send this heat to your whole body and then to your mind too, and be careful if you find blocks, stiffness, numbness that hinders you. If you find obstacles, look at them without judging them, and then try to feel, visualize or imagine that you are capable of infinite and unconditional love. Make a smile (right with your mouth
) one by one of the obstacles you find, and shower them with love.
When you are finished, choose one of these phrases and repeat it mentally or in a low voice until you feel full of love for yourself.
3) Love for the Mentor
When you feel full of love for yourself or if you choose to go on, imagine visualize or feel the presence of a person whose absolute good you want, generally it is a person who has taught you a lot in life, a mentor, a benefactor, an elder: the first person that comes to mind is fine, do not ask yourself why that person has arrived, if it is one that amazes you.
Repeat the phrase you have chosen for yourself also for this person (“May he/she be free / a …”)., Until you feel an unconditional love towards her that flows from your heart through the breath and reaches her.
4) Love for a friend
When you are full of love for the Mentor, go to visualize, imagine or feel the presence of your friend and redo the same procedure you have already done: repeat the sentence and when you feel full of love for this person goes beyond.
5) Love for those who are neutral to us
Now think of a person to whom you feel nothing special, nothing positive or negative. Repeat the sentence and send love, but if it is difficult for you, try also to wish them benevolence and protection. When you feel ready, move on to the next person.
6) Love for those we do not know
As for the neutral person, now visualize, imagine or feel the presence of a person you do not know, maybe someone you meet on the street or see at the supermarket … and redo the same procedure: repeat the phrase you chose for (or just wish benevolence and protection) until you feel strong and sincere the energy of benevolence that emanates from your heart.
7) Love for the enemy or for those who are hostile
After the person you do not know, imagine, visualize or feel the presence of a hostile person or who considers himself an enemy. It must be a person to whom you feel resentful, and even if it can be difficult, repeat the usual procedure. If you have difficulty, you can say “To the best of my ability I wish he/she can …”.
If the difficulties were too many, or you felt bad or very uncomfortable, go back to imagine/visualize/ hear the mentor. And repeat this process whenever the difficulties are too great.
8) Love for Existence
When you have finished with the hostile person, you can imagine, visualize or feel that you send your benevolence and best wishes love and protection to all living beings, to the planet, to all the people of the world. You can also simply use a final sentence, such as “That all living things can be protected, safe, healthy, free and happy”.
As repeated many times in the article, meditation Metta has incredible benefits and can truly work wonders if practiced correctly and constantly. So I invite you to try it for a while and see what happens inside and outside of you. Sometimes it takes time but the results are assured. I do not say so, but thousands of people around the world can confirm it, who regularly practice it and who, thanks to their loving kindness, have improved their lives. Let me know in the comments how your Metta meditation will go.