How to Practise Loving-kindness Meditation

Loving-kindness meditation is a practice helping us develop the habit of selflessness or altruistic love. When practising loving-kindness meditation, one supports the mind in becoming free of pain and suffering. With practice, you will experience positive attitudinal changes. Ready to start?

If you are just beginning to meditate please check this article first. We’ve already talked about how you can start your meditation practice in seven simple steps. Now let’s go on with the loving-kindness meditation.

Close your eyes. Breathe deeply in. Tell yourself “All is well in my life. I am safe, I am at peace.” Imagine you are in a wide-open space and everything is peaceful and serene. You feel that from your center, from the very core of your being, life and peace emanate.

Once you feel you have attained a profound state of stillness, calmness and relaxation, you can start sharing your inner peace and developing loving-kindness for yourself and the people around you.

Practising loving-kindness meditation on Koh Yao Noi, Thailand
Practising loving-kindness meditation on Koh Yao Noi, Thailand

Two techniques to practise loving-kindness meditation

We will practise developing loving-kindness towards oneself and towards others. When practised regularly, the loving-kindness meditation helps us overcome negative feeling one might have, such as jealousy, hatred, reticence, selfishness, etc.

Start with yourself and then spread loving-kindness towards:

  1. a person who you respect, such as a teacher
  2. a dear person, family member or friend
  3. a neutral person, like a shop assistant
  4. a hostile person, someone you have a challenging relation with

As any form of meditation, spreading loving-kindness supposes that you recall that person in your mind, without getting into details of their appearance, or words you might have exchanged. Remember not to get involved and attached to the emotions that these persons might evoke in you. Just let your feelings and emotions be and continue spreading loving-kindness in an equanimous way.

How does one spread loving kindness? Here are the two techniques we propose:

1. Visualization

See a mental image of yourself being at peace and having a little smile on your face. Imagine that all the above-mentioned persons – the person you respect, the dear person and the hostile one – feel the same kind of inner peace and acceptance. Try to see their faces smiling, even if the image is not very clear.

2. Saying a mantra

Repeating a mantra is the simplest and one of the most effective ways to spread loving-kindness. This is an example that you can use: “May I be healthy, peaceful, safe, happy and kind.” or you can create a phrase of your own. Next, you say the same phrase for the dear person of your choice, for the neutral and finally for the hostile person. At the end of the meditation session, you may continue spreading your loving-kindness with all living beings. You can say something like “May all living beings be healthy, peaceful, safe, happy and kind.”
This practice is meant to dissolve barriers between you and the others. Practising loving-kindness meditation inspires you to develop a friendly and open attitude towards yourself and the people around you. The ultimate goal of practising loving-kindness meditation is harvesting unconditional love and acceptance, the feeling that you and everyone else are happy and at peace, that your happiness and peace of mind are not depending on any exterior factors. Happy practice!

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