Loving-kindness, is unconditional, inclusive love, a love with wisdom. It has no conditions; it does not depend on whether one “deserves” it or not; it is not restricted to friends and family; it extends out from personal categories to include all living beings. There are no expectations of anything in return. This is the ideal, pure love, which everyone has in potential. We begin with loving ourselves, for unless we have a measure of this unconditional love and acceptance for ourselves, it is difficult to extend it to others. Then we include others who are special to us, and, ultimately, all living things. Gradually, both the visualisation and the meditation phrases blend into the actual experience, the feeling of loving kindness.
While particular tools are available, Metta practice can also be creative, as it builds and deepens with personal exploration. Below are a few phrases commonly used in Metta meditation. As you sit, you repeat them silently to yourself:
The practice is in five stages. We cultivate Metta for:
Practice in stages, perhaps one at the time for a while before moving on to the others. Use heart centered breathing as you work through these stages and reflect on how each stage makes you feel. Some days will feel easy and some days hard – this is why we call it a practice!
Interested in learning more about meditation and yogic philosophy? Why not check out our new Yogic Philosophy Course starting in January 2019.
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