Mind 10 min read

This Is Why You Should Practice Loving Kindness Meditation

by Mindvalley January 10, 2018

We all have the capacity to give unconditional love, the kind of love that wants nothing in return and doesn’t rely on judgments or expectations.

It’s not the romantic type of love or lust you feel for a partner, rather, it’s the type of love you feel for a newborn baby or a small animal.

You don’t see faults when you experience unconditional love; you see perfection despite faults.

Now imagine the peace you’d feel if you experienced this type of love fully for yourself and everyone you meet.

That is the goal of the Buddhist metta meditation, or as it is more commonly known, loving kindness meditation.

By practicing loving kindness meditation, you first learn to love yourself unconditionally and then you learn how to extend that unconditional love to everyone around you.

Eventually, you can learn how to feel true compassion for even those that have hurt you very deeply.

How Loving Kindness Meditation Is Different

The goal of many meditations is a focus on the self.

Through various types of meditation, you can learn to release tensions, control your breath, sleep easier, reduce stress and a host of other self-improvements.

Loving kindness can offer all of these benefits as well, but it does so by focusing on providing compassion to others.

Of course, this can only be achieved when you learn to give compassion to yourself.

In this way, loving kindness meditations are very different from awareness meditations.

You may be familiar with meditations that teach you to focus on sensations rather than respond to them.

For example, in some meditations, if you feel an itch, rather than become distracted by it and scratch it, you simply acknowledge and observe the sensation.

Awareness meditations are incredibly helpful and are an important part of any meditation practice, as they give you the tools to improve yourself.

Loving kindness meditation, on the other hand, gives you the tools to be kind to yourself.

If you have an itch in a loving kindness meditation, you are expected to scratch it, because that is the kind thing to do.


Loving Kindness Meditation Benefits

Imagine walking down the street and seeing a hurt, injured baby animal.

Your natural instinct would be to ease the animal’s suffering in any way possible.

The warm sensation of compassion you’d feel is loving kindness and the benefits of feeling that way towards yourself and others are endless.

Studies have shown that implementing a daily practice of loving kindness meditation can:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Cure symptoms of PTSD
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Reduce feelings of anger and rage
  • Improve social relationships
  • Increase confidence and of course
  • Increase feelings of compassion, love and empathy

These effects are achieved because the more you practice loving kindness, the more you begin to focus on the positive in every situation.

Compassion does not blind you from pain, but it allows you to see the benefits of the negative.

Think of the injured baby animal again.

Your compassion prevents you from only seeing the gross wounds or only experiencing the anger of why the animal was hurt.

Your compassion inspires you to empathize, imagine a bright, positive future for the animal and to take action to ensure that future happens.

What would happen if you started to approach your life with compassion?

When confronted with pain and hurt, you wouldn’t focus on anger; you’d focus on empathy, hope and positive action.

How to practice Loving Kindness Meditation

To practice loving kindness meditation, you need to learn what compassion and unconditional love feel like in your body.

Once you do, you focus it on yourself, then on someone or something that is easy to love, then to a larger group and eventually to everyone, including those who inspire anger, fear and hurt within you.

There are a set of loving kindness meditation words that are commonly used during practice.

These words have power attached to them because they have been spoken so many times by people attempting to achieve unconditional love.

By saying these words out loud you are adding even more power to them.

Below is a loving kindness meditation script that you can follow.

It’s important that you feel the sensation of compassion in your body before saying the words out loud.

It may help to first imagine holding a purring kitten, a newborn baby or even your favorite toy as a child.

When you feel the warm sensation of compassion in your body, hold on to it and imagine giving that feeling to the intended target at the appropriate point in the meditation.

Kindness Meditation

The first target is yourself. Give yourself the feeling of compassion while saying these words aloud:

May I be safe and free from harm.
May I be happy and free from stress.
May I be healthy and free from pain.
May I be able to live in this world peacefully and joyfully.

The next target is someone that is easy to love.

Choose someone other than your romantic partner so that you don’t experience feelings of romantic love or lust. Choose a friend, child or family member.

May you be safe and free from harm.
May you be happy and free from stress.
May you be healthy and free from pain.
May you be able to live in this world peacefully and joyfully.

The next target is a neutral target.

You can choose one person that you don’t know very well or you can choose a group of people that you don’t know.

For example, you could choose the person in line behind you at the store yesterday or everyone that lives in Miami, Florida.

The goal is to choose someone that you don’t feel anything towards.

May you be safe and free from harm.
May you be happy and free from stress.
May you be healthy and free from pain.
May you be able to live in this world peacefully and joyfully.

The next target is a difficult target.

Think of someone that has hurt you very deeply.

Maybe they betrayed your trust or abused you physically or emotionally. Maybe someone took advantage of you or simply ignored you. Choose someone that it is difficult to feel compassion and forgiveness towards.

May you be safe and free from harm.
May you be happy and free from stress.
May you be healthy and free from pain.
May you be able to live in this world peacefully and joyfully.

Finally, offer your compassion to the entire world. Imagine your compassion as a light that shines from your heart and encompasses the entire globe.

May everyone be safe and free from harm.
May everyone be happy and free from stress.
May everyone be healthy and free from pain.
May everyone be able to live in this world peacefully and joyfully.

Guided Loving Kindness Meditation

Another great way to practice loving kindness is to listen to a guided meditation track.

Audio tracks can help you relax and get into the right state of mind.

The track below is wonderful for beginners or anyone who is having a difficult time with distraction and focus.

The track will take you through a 30 minute guided meditation, which will first focus on getting you to relax.

This is a really important part of the loving kindness meditation, because you have to learn to love yourself before you can fully love others.

Treat yourself with complete kindness when you practice this meditation.

If your body wants a treat, give yourself a treat. If your body wants to lie down, then lie down.

If you have an itch, scratch it.

This is not a time to feel guilty or stressed.

Practicing loving kindness meditation is about learning to make others and yourself feel loved.

by Mindvalley
Mindvalley is creating a global school that delivers transformational education for all ages. Powered by community. Fueled by fun. We are dedicated to ensuring that humans live happier, healthier, and more fulfilled lives by plugging in the gaps that conventional education failed to teach us. We do this by organising real-world events around the world and producing world-class quality programmes in several areas of transformation, including mind, body, and performance.

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