Meditate on Loving-Kindness

by Sandy Scherer

Old patterns and habitual ways are not going to go down without a fight. They may no longer serve us or feed us, but man, do they ever feel familiar and easy.

Striking a new path takes intention, determination, work and community. The part of you that creates intention to mettachange is the knowing part of you. The voice that lives within and truly knows what you need. It may often be drowned out by the busyness of your lives, and old, comfortable ways, but when you are quiet and still, you can hear it. And that voice is what truly feels good and feeds the soul.

For many of us, the voice lives in our hearts. To cultivate your intention toward a new direction, begin by nurturing your heart. Start by treating yourself with loving-kindness. Take time to listen in meditation to what the heart has to offer.

To practice loving-kindness meditation, or Metta meditation, sit quietly in a comfortable way and take a few slow, long breaths with complete exhalations. Feel and imagine the breath moving through your heart.

First practice Metta meditation toward yourself, since, as the adage so truly states, we have to love ourselves before we love others. In your quiet stillness, mentally repeat the following or similar phrases:

May I be safe.

May I be happy.

May I live with ease and well-being.

May I be free from suffering.

After directing this loving-kindness toward yourself, think of a friend or loved one to whom you want to extend this feeling, and repeat the phrasing toward that individual:

May you be safe.

May you be happy.

May you live with ease and well-being.

May you be free from suffering.

You may gradually and over time extend this meditation to others in your life, even those who may present you with your greatest challenges, and eventually to all beings everywhere.