Metta meditation originates from Buddhist practices - cultivating compassion, understanding, and love through repetition of specific phrases.
If you'd like to skip to the recordings, scroll down!
This heart-opening meditation starts with reciting words of loving-kindness to yourself, followed by sending it outwards towards others and the world or universe beyond.
By repeating an intention of goodwill, one can feel a sense connection to not only oneself, but others.
What Symptoms or Experiences Can Metta Help With?*
Anger, rage, hostility
Anxiety, fear, worry
Shame and guilt
Self-loathing, ruminating on self-deprecating thoughts or feelings
Loud internal self-critic
Posttraumatic stress, PTSD
Insomnia, sleep disturbances
Mood disturbances or "disorders"
Pain (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual)
Guidelines for Metta, or Loving-kindness, Meditation
Begins with directing specific phrases of loving-kindness or good intentions to yourself. This practice starts with you, because "without loving yourself it is difficult to love others" (Kornfield, Jack. "Meditation on lovingkindness." Jack Kornfield, November 2, 2016, https://jackkornfield.com/meditation-on-lovingkindness/). Spend as much time as needed to practice directing loving-kindness towards yourself - this might take days, months, or longer. Please be gentle and patient with yourself.
It is not uncommon for people who've experienced trauma and violence to find it difficult to practice metta. Because these words and phrases were not heard much growing up, it may feel foreign or even "wrong." Because violence and abuse can have an insidious effect on one's sense of self and induce shame or guilt, metta meditation can feel false. However, with practice, one's heart can gradually open up to be filled with more love and compassion.
Phrases might include: "May I be happy, may I be healthy, may I be safe, may I live with ease." Try out different phrases that resonate with you.
Gradually repeat these loving phrases towards yourself, and gradually you can direct them towards at a friend or loved one, an acquaintance, someone you have difficulty or conflict with, the global community, and universe.
Listen to Guided Metta Audio Recordings (By Me)
7-Minute Guided Metta Meditation for Self: Listen to my guided metta meditation that focuses on cultivating loving-kindness towards yourself by opening your heart to good wishes. Practicing receiving loving-kindness is a necessary first step in this practice, as it is difficult to love others fully without loving yourself first. Don't be discouraged if this feels uncomfortable, upsetting, painful, or activating at first. Many of us who haven't heard, experienced, or felt such loving phrases can find it difficult to hear or even believe. However, with repetition and practice, your heart can open and your brain can pave new neural networks. *Note*If it is difficult to imagine someone you love or care about, you can imagine a beloved animal.
10-Minute Guided Metta Meditation Traditional: Listen to my guided metta meditation that includes good wishes towards yourself and outward towards others.
More Resources to Explore
˗ˏˋ ♡ ˎˊ˗
In concluding this post, which includes writing and recording the audio, I cannot help but feel an incredible sense of gratitude and open heart radiating outwards - to you, the reader, and all beings. I believe that you, too, can experience this gentleness, this tender love and kindness towards yourself and all parts of you. If you get discouraged, I invite you to reach out to me or comment below for support and encouragement.
This last audio is a song by The Beatles, "Here Come the Sun."
May you live in safety, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
May you allow your heart to open with loving-kindness.