In this fast-moving world, we make friends on social media. Though some people have hit the maximum number of friends on their social media accounts, most of them remain nominal friends.
As a result of the modern technology, it looks like we are closely connected with each other. In reality, we are isolated in our own worlds more than ever. We have a little time to associate with our friends.
The best example I have seen is when people go for an outing, they keep their eyes glued to the mobile phone. They hardly pay any attention to engaging in a conversation with people around them.
On the other hand, how many times per day you take a moment to mirror yourself? Out of everyone in this world, you take the least time to spend with yourself.
Consequently, you will lose the ability to connect with yourself as well as with others. When this connection is lost, it is difficult to accept yourself as who you are or others as who they are.
This article emphasizes loving-kindness meditation that teaches how to generate compassionate thoughts, acts, and words toward yourself along with other beings.
- What is loving kindness?
- What is the origin of loving-kindness meditation?
- What is loving-kindness meditation (metta bhavana)?
- How to begin the practice of loving-kindness?
- Benefits of loving kindness
What is loving kindness?
Loving-kindness means extending friendliness toward yourself and others. It is an unconditional love that does not depend on how others treat you or how you feel about yourself.
In Christianity, it is similar to agape love. In Buddhism, it is called “metta”, which means friendliness directed at all beings in the entire universe.
What is the origin of loving-kindness meditation?
Loving-kindness meditation dates back to the time of the Buddha. However, Loving-kindness meditation is a universal meditation that can be practiced by anyone, anywhere.
Is loving-kindness different from conditional love?
Loving kindness is different from conditional love in scope as well as in wholesomeness.
Scope: It is wider in scope because loving-kindness is not aimed at a particular individual or a group of individuals. You can spread it to all beings.
Wholesomeness: When it comes to wholesomeness, it is a pure form of love that has no strings attached. In spreading loving-kindness, you will be working toward the wellbeing of others physically, mentally, and verbally irrespective of their treatment toward you.
Other types of love:
On the other hand, other types of love such as romantic love are intended for a particular individual and also it is conditional. A romantic love remains as long as the parties love each other.
Even if we take parents’ love toward a child, it is not unconditional. They love the child because he or she is their child. Therefore, strands of ownership are involved even in the parents-children relationship.
Thus, loving-kindness is higher than all other types of love and you need to expand the horizons of your mind to practice it.
Most religions advocate living in peace and harmony with others. Jesus preached to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
The Buddha preached to consider all beings as your own children. Likewise, if you can think of all beings in this world on friendly terms, the world will be a better place.
What is loving-kindness meditation (metta bhavana)?
Loving-kindness meditation or metta bhavana is a technique to develop your mind with positive thoughts such as love, kindness, compassion, and wishing for your wellbeing and for others.
Where can you practice loving kindness meditation?
Actually, you can practice loving-kindness meditation everywhere. For instance, you can fulfill your mind with loving-kindness on the road, while you are waiting in a queue, in your workplace, and the list will never come to an end.
That means you need loving kindness everywhere and you can spread loving kindness in every moment.
How to begin the practice of loving-kindness?
Despite the fact you can practice loving kindness everywhere in every moment, you can also practice it in a quiet spot.
- Find a calm spot in nature or inside the home
- Sit comfortably with an upright posture
- Gently close your eyes and keep your palms clasped in front of you
- Take a few deep breaths to relax yourself
- Now start practicing loving-kindness
You are the first to receive loving-kindness
The first part of the meditation focuses on spreading loving kindness to yourself. The idea is to fill your mind with love and kindness, forgive yourself, and wish you wellness.
Think “may I be well, happy, and peaceful. May no harm come to me, may no difficulties come to me. May I be free from all sufferings”
Recite this a few times mentally.
Others come next
The second part of the meditation elaborates on spreading love and kindness toward others around you.
Think “may my parents be well, happy, and peaceful. May no harm come to them, may no difficulties come to them. May they be free from all sufferings”
You can extend this meditation toward your siblings, teachers, colleagues, friends, and so on.
Extend the friendliness toward a neutral person
Think about a person about whom you have a neutral feeling. For example, residents in the neighborhood, people who live in the city, people who live in the state, etc.
Even though you do not know who they are, it is not a barrier to think about them on good terms and wish them well.
Your enemies are not excluded
Your enemies play a huge role in influencing the peace in your mind. Just forgive them. Do not let the negative emotions of anger or ill will break your inner peace.
Recite “may my enemies be well, happy, and peaceful. May no harm come to them, may no difficulties come to them. May they be free from all sufferings”
For an advanced practitioner
Loving kindness can be expanded to all beings in this world. You can expand your kind thoughts to all beings;
- near or far,
- visible or invisible,
- born or yet to be born,
- small, big, and medium-sized beings
Think “all near or far, visible or invisible, born or yet to be born, small, big and medium-sized beings be well, happy, and peaceful. May no harm come to those beings, no difficulties come to them. May they be free from all sufferings,”
Also loving kindness meditation can be advanced based on the geography as well as direction.
Can loving kindness meditation be practiced in all 4 postures?
You can practice loving kindness in all 4 postures; while sitting, standing, walking, and lying down. It is a radiant thought you can spread all the time in every posture.
Benefits of loving kindness
- Loving-kindness meditation changes your thinking pattern positively. For example, when you spread love and kindness toward yourself, you will start compromising with yourself
- In day-to-day life, we tend to get disappointed or blame ourselves based on various reasons. Family issues, workplace stress, or financial problems can be some of the things which put you down. When you let go of those negative feelings and have positive thoughts toward yourself, you will definitely become a changed person
- When you practice loving kindness toward others, you will be more patient with people around you
- We often get angry with our loved ones and those negative feelings can imprint in our memory. Loving-kindness help you forgiving and forgetting any unpleasant thoughts you have toward others
- Loving-kindness meditation helps to overcome anger
- Helps developing concentration
- When your mind is free from anger, you will sleep better
- Practicing loving kindness on a regular basis makes your appearance pleasant to everyone
Accordingly, loving kindness meditation is a magical way to transform your thought process for the benevolence of yourself as well as others. Practice it and experience the difference in your life.