The Practice of Loving-Kindness: Metta Leads to Compassion and Forgiveness

Metta, the meditative practice of loving-kindness, is not only a way to send well wishes to those you care about, but can support you in being compassionate to those in your life that you find difficult, or even downright hostile.

Metta Prayer of Loving Kindness

May you be happy, as I wish to be happy.
May you know peace, as I wish to know peace.
May you be free from suffering, as I wish to be free from suffering.

First, find yourself in a comfortable seated position, or practice Metta while walking mindfully. Then, using the words above, visualize and send well wishes to the following people in this order:

1. To someone you respect and love: “May you be happy, as I wish to be happy…..”
2. To Yourself: “May I be happy…”
3. To others in your life you love: “May you all be happy, as I wish to be happy…..”
4. To a neutral person (someone you do not have an opinion about): “May you be happy, as I wish to be happy…..”
5. To a difficult or hostile person: “May you be happy, as I wish to be happy…..”
6. To all beings: “May all beings be happy, as I wish to be happy…..”

Take time to allow the image of yourself or the other person to come into your mind before repeating the words. Focus and repeat the refrain as often as you wish.

When you are finished, reflect on the effects Metta practice has had. Notice how you move through the rest of your day, how you interact with those close to you as well as strangers. This can be a powerful exercise, and is said to have profound health and wellness benefits, not to mention that people will want to be around you without even knowing why!

Gentle Heart Compassion Retreat

If you are seeking to open your heart and deepen your compassion for yourself and others, consider spending a day immersed in expansive meditation, restorative yoga, and mindful journaling. You may register online, or call 240-446-3030 for more information.

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Heather Stang

Mindfulness Author & Trainer at Mindfulness & Grief
Heather Stang, M.A. is the author ofMindfulness & Grief and the Frederick Meditation Center founder. She holds a Masters degree in Thanatology (Death, Dying, and Bereavement) from Hood College in Maryland, and is a certified Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner. She has led mindfulness-based grief workshops for organizations such as the National Fallen Firefighters Association and Hospice of Frederick County, and is a member of the Association of Death Education and Counseling. Heather’s mission is to help people who are grieving to stay healthy and benefit from the transformative experience of grief, using mindfulness-based practices, relaxation, and expressive arts. She has an established practice offering Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy sessions, day-long retreats, and 8 Week Yoga for Grief groups. She is based in Maryland. You can find her on Google +.
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