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Metta Meditation


“Cultivating closeness and warmth for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It is the ultimate source of success in life.” -His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV


Metta from Pali (the old Indic dialect of the Buddhist scriptures) meaning "benevolence, amity, friendship, good will, kindness, and love.”


Meditation is an ancient practice that spans thousands of years and most cultures and religions. It is often grouped together with mindfulness and indeed meditation can be a route to a mindful state. There are however some specific differences.


Meditation is the habitual practice of a chosen focus to achieve stillness of the mind. In meditation an altered state of awareness if often reached.


We have spoken before about the importance of stillness.


The calm when we quieten our minds allows us to set clear intentions and so stillness leads to purposeful action.


In stillness we can collect and analyse our thoughts determining whether they are rational of irrational. The calm allows us to consciously choose our responses rather than automatically reacting to circumstances.


In making our responses conscious we reclaim our power in all situations.


When we are still, we can reflect more easily on our actions and activate our capacity to observe, understanding where our psyche is preventing us from moving forward.


It is in stillness that we can connect with the universe and receive answers. Wisdom come from stillness.


There are many ways to meditate. Today we want to focus on the wonderful ‘Metta Meditation,’ also known as ‘Loving Kindness Meditation.’


In this form of meditation, we purposefully speak words that cultivate a feeling of good will and openness to ourselves, then to others; our loved ones, those we are indifferent to and those we dislike.


We know that mediation has beneficial effects on blood pressure, pain, sleep, anxiety, and cognitive function[1].


Metta Meditation has been researched specifically showing both physical and psychological benefits.


Loving-kindness meditation has been proven to produce positive emotions[2][3], to help with psychological problems such as social anxiety, marital conflict, anger, and coping with the strains of long-term caregiving[4].


There is even evidence that it may slow the ageing process![5]


This week’s tool is a script for a Metta Meditation


Try this:


Metta is a meditative exercise with the specific purpose of encouraging both physical and mental wellness for yourself and others. It does require dedicated time when you will not be disturbed.


Sit or lie in a quiet comfortable place

Take your awareness to your breathing

The tidal in and out of your Breath

Allow your breaths to slow and deepen

And as you do so, become aware of the feeling of calm stillness that settles over you

Now allow the out breath to become a little bit longer than the in breath

Deeply and slowly

As we breathe in, the tension in our muscles slightly increases

And as we breathe out, the tension in our bodies is released

So, as you gently deepen and lengthen that outbreath

Begin to experience a letting go

Relinquish any tension that you have been holding in your body

As you do this, set the intention to be happy and tranquil

Open you heart and mind

In doing this you activate the law of attraction


Now

Bring your focus inward


Say clearly with purpose and conviction:


I am Happy (joyful, content)

I am Healthy

I am Secure

I am Tranquil


Now focus externally and bring to mind a loved one

Focus on your intention to wish this person who is sacred to you goodwill and wellbeing


Say clearly with purpose and conviction:

May you be Happy (joyful, content)

May you be Healthy

May you be Secure

May you be Tranquil


Now focus on a person who you know who does not invoke such strong feelings

This could be an acquaintance or a colleague

You do not know them well but you can wish them well


Say clearly with purpose and conviction:

May you be Happy (joyful, content)

May you be Healthy

May you be Secure

May you be Tranquil


Now turn your attention to a person with whom you have a difficult relationship

Someone who annoys you or whom you dislike

Thank the universe for the opportunity to reflect on what it is about this person that reflects something in your shadow. Be grateful for the chance to acknowledge those parts of yourself and thereby be whole. Thank the person for this gift to you


Say clearly with purpose and conviction:

May you be Happy (joyful, content)

May you be Healthy

May you be Secure

May you be Tranquil


To enhance the feelings of goodwill, try adding imagery to the mediation. See the person you are focused on filled with white light, vital and serene.


Sometimes in a loving kindness meditation, negative feelings can surface. Feelings of regret, melancholy, rage or sorrow. As with all meditations, allow those feelings to come to the surface and be heard, acknowledge them, and then gently bring your focus back to the intention of the mediation and the goodwill that you wish to convey.


Practise regular Metta Meditation and to reap its many benefits.


Share this beautiful way to increase feelings of positivity with friends and family.


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[1] Horowitz S. Health benefits of meditation. Altern Complement Ther. 2010;16:223–8 [2] Zeng X, Chiu CP, Wang R, Oei TP, Leung FY. The effect of loving-kindness meditation on positive emotions: a meta-analytic review. Front Psychol. 2015;6:1693. Published 2015 Nov 3. [3] Fredrickson BL, Cohn MA, Coffey KA, Pek J, Finkel SM. Open hearts build lives: positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008;95(5):1045-106 [4] Hofmann SG, Grossman P, Hinton DE. Loving-kindness and compassion meditation: potential for psychological interventions. Clin Psychol Rev. 2011;31(7):1126-1132. [5] Le Nguyen KD, Lin J, Algoe SB, Brantley MM, Kim SL, Brantley J, Salzberg S, Fredrickson BL. Loving-kindness meditation slows biological aging in novices: Evidence from a 12-week randomized controlled trial. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2019 Oct;108:20-27. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.05.020. Epub 2019 May 20. Erratum in: Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2019 Nov

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