Metta meditation or loving kindness meditation is a great way to develop compassion towards oneself and others. There are many benefits to practising Metta meditation: you will sleep easily, wake up easily, will have pleasant dreams, people will love you, animals will love you, external dangers will not harm you, your face will be radiant, your mind will be serene and you will die unconfused*. Buddha used to call it the kind of meditation that will bring joy. Scientific publications on the health benefits of Metta meditation can be found in PubMed.
To practice Metta meditation, choose a relaxed and comfortable posture, and send good wishes to yourself by repeating the following verses to yourself silently.
- May I be safe
- May I be happy
- May I be healthy
- May I live life with ease
After repeating a few times, bring a ‘loved one’ in your mind and repeat the verses with ‘you’ instead of ‘I’. You may practice it on your close people one by one. Metta meditation is usually done in this order: yourself, loved one(s), friend, neutral person, difficult person, all beings.
You may find slightly different versus online. Choose the ones that resonate with you the most but stick to them and it’s best if you maintain the order. There aren’t any strict rules on how many times you want to repeat it for each person. It is said that the benefits of sending Metta first go through yourself first.
*Benefits listed are from the book Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg