Compassion: The Heart Of The Practice
Lesson 10 Chapter 3
Instructions for Compassion & Lovingkindness Meditation (also known as metta)
This is the same meditation as the 5 minute version above, but with a longer period of silence.
15 Minute Metta Practice - Starting with You
15 Minute Metta Practice - Starting with the Beloved
- This practice is not about forcing yourself to feel a particular way, or condoning harmful behavior by another. Instead, it starts a conversation by allowing you to explore how you do feel.
- Do not pick your worst enemy for the “difficult” person - start with someone who is a little challenging. If you find your having a hard time sending this person well wishes, you can either send the well wishes to yourself, or choose a less challenging person.
Lovingkindness is the desire that all beings be happy. Compassion is the desire that all beings are free from suffering. All beings include yourself!
“When we have insight into our inner world and what brings us happiness, then wordlessly, intuitively, we understand others. As though there were no longer a barrier defining the boundaries of our caring, we can feel close to others’ experience of life.” - Sharon Salzberg, Real Happiness
“In Asian languages, the word for ‘mind’ and the word for ‘heart’ are same. So if you’re not hearing mindfulness in some deep way as heartfulness, you’re not really understanding it. Compassion and kindness towards oneself are intrinsically woven into it. You could think of mindfulness as wise and affectionate attention.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn
Lovingkindness Meditation: Sending & Receiving Well Wishes
The formal practice of lovingkindness meditation – also known as metta -involves sending a short verse in six directions as you visualize a particular being: yourself, a spiritual leader or teacher, a friend or family member, a neutral person, a difficult person, and all sentient beings. You can craft your own verse, similar to the one below:
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.
The informal practice of lovingkindness meditation can be as simple as looking someone in the eye during conversation and silently wishing them “may you be happy.” You never need to let them know!
Compassion Instructions and Practice
Third Week Class Recording at The Frederick Meditation Center with Heather Stang.