Loving-kindness meditation is a form of meditation that focuses mainly on producing feelings of kindness, compassion, and goodwill. It is not practiced to accomplish a goal or prove a point; it is a process to experience things in life and enjoy them. Buddha used the Pali word Metta to describe loving-kindness as a word for friendship, benevolence, kindness, and affection. And so, loving kindness meditation is considered a radical act of love.
Loving-kindness Meditation usually starts with the self; it softens the heart and mind and helps in experiencing love and compassion for ourselves, which we can then show others too. It is known to:
- Reduce negative emotions and increase positive ones.
- Improve social connections
- Initiate emotional processing and empathy.
- Relieve chronic pain
Why Loving Kindness Meditation is An Act of Love
A significant spiritual development and the desire to consider our pleasant emotions arise with loving-kindness meditation. According to some studies on how loving-kindness meditation activates the insula and parietal junction, two brain regions that link perception and emotion, get activated faster than other forms of meditative practices. This practice has a long-lasting effect on our mind and body and kick-starts a wave of positivity that is truly empowering.
Benefits of Loving Kindness Meditation
- Less Self-Criticism: Once committing to loving-kindness meditation, there is no space for self-criticism since the method shuts the critic in our mind and makes one more self-accepting.
- Positive emotions: The loving-kindness meditation attracts positive energy from the outside and improves the quality of life.
- Lesser self-destructive thoughts: People with mental health issues showed a reduction in their self-harming impulses and manifested an overall decrease in their negative symptoms.
As long as we are committed to unconditional self-love and self-appreciation, there are no right or wrong ways to practice loving-kindness meditation for the mind and soul to connect. The best ways to practice it are:
- Use yourself as the subject and repeat praise words like “May I be well; May I be healthy; May I be at peace”.
- Take some time from your schedule and commit yourself to loving-kindness meditation during those minutes every day.
- Maintain a journal to record how you felt before, during and after the session.
- Cultivate loving-kindness by shifting focus on a good friend.
Typically, the meditation is completed by sending forth loving-kindness to all beings and extending mindfulness as widely as possible.