|Posted by Jamie Sparks on February 19, 2012 at 10:55 PM|
Loving Kindness Meditation-Mettha Bhavana
This Buddhist meditation practice is great for any of us. How often do many of us feel separate and isolated? How about struggling with self love? This meditation can help us develop feelings of selfless love, while healing our confused feelings of separate-ness and cultivating a greater sense of connection. There are 4 basic qualities to develop in this meditation practice: loving kindness/friendliness, compassion, equanimity and empathetic joy. This practice firsts begins with a development of loving acceptance for yourself, then a respected person, then a beloved friend or family member and then a neutral person and finally someone you may struggle with. For more on the basics of Mettha Bhavana, see http://www.wildmind.org/metta.
And how do we develop these feelings of loving kindness? The first thing is to become aware of how we actually are feeling rightt now. This is essential groundwork. So, I will offer these simple instructions to work with as a first part to practicing Metthaa Bhavana.
Sit quietly, and take your awareness into your body. As best you can, relax each muscle as you bring awareness to it. Bring your awareness to your heart area, and see what emotions are present, smile, and watch what happens. Just observe. Remember: whatever emotions you are feeling (good, bad, or even neutral) are fine. You can work with those emotions, and you can only start from where you are. Notice your heart space and what feelings and emotions arise there. As you are ready, bring yourself back to the outside world and gently integrate.
If you want to take this further, please see this lovely breakdown of the 4 stages on windmind.org: http://www.wildmind.org/metta/one
To love our enemy is impossible. The moment we understand our enemy, we feel compassion towards him/her, and he/she is no longer our enemy. Thich Nhat Hanh
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. The Dalai Lama