Loving Kindness practice (or Metta in Pali, the language of the Buddha) is a beautiful practice that guides and inclines the heart toward goodwill and kindness. It’s one of my favorite practices. Here is the story of my own experience of what is possible through this beautiful practice.
Through the intentional offering of blessings of goodwill for ourselves and others, we habituate the heart and mind towards kindness, warmth, generosity and compassion. It is said that this kind of goodwill is like a gentle rain falling indiscriminately over everything.
In formal loving kindness practice, one repeats and directs phrases silently as blessings or intentions to oneself or others. It’s lovely to visualize yourself or another feeling contented, peaceful, and happy while offering the phrases. It can also be helpful to put your hand over the heart center as a way to directly connect the mind and heart to the intention of the practice. Try gently smiling, too. It relaxes the body.
“Practicing metta is like casting a spell of kindness out into the world. It sweetens your disposition.”
May I/you be peaceful and happy
May I/you be safe and protected
May I/you be healthy and strong
May my/your life unfold with ease
May I/you be contented and pleased
May I/you be protected and safe
May I/you be gentle and kind
May I/you meet this moment with ease
The Buddha’s Words on Loving-Kindness
This is what should be done
By those who are skilled in goodness,
And who know the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied,
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways,
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: in gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born—
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world,
Spreading upward to the skies,
And downward to the depths;
Outward and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down,
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.