Metta Bhavana is a Buddhist mediation that is used to cultivate and develop qualities of Love and compassion towards yourself and all sentient beings. Its purpose is to bring about a state of “engagement” in the world and a state of “relating” to others from a peaceful, positive and loving place in your heart. This is a wonderful meditation that can be done anywhere at any time and with the most profound and beautiful results.
Step one: Start this meditation by focusing your attention on the top of your head and bringing the sensation of warmth down over your entire body right thought to your fingertips and toes. Breathe out all stresses and feelings of agitation in the body and gently bring yourself back to focus if you feel yourself wondering off. Start feeling a warm sensation over your heart and picture a golden and strong light emanating from it. Now start bringing in feelings of metta (love) towards yourself. You can achieve this by obtaining an inward focus of tranquility, gratitude, peace and calm and then allowing these feelings to open up into strength, confidence and appreciation for yourself that stems from your heart. Alternatively you can visualise a peaceful golden light surrounding you and flooding your body or you can repeat a phrase such as ” I am well and happy and have love in my heart”. These are all ways of stimulating metta for yourself.
Step two: In this stage your focus will be on a good friend. Bring them into your mind as vividly as you can and focus on their good qualities and strengthen your loving connection with them by repeating in your mind ” May they be well, may they be happy, may they feel loved” alternatively you can visualise a golden light from your heart into theirs.
Step three: Now think of someone you have neutral feelings towards, so no strong feelings of like or dislike so maybe someone who you see around but don’t actually know. Bring your focus in on their humanity and repeat feelings of metta as above towards this person.
Step four: Think of someone you actually have strong feelings of dislike or anger towards whilst being mindful to avoid getting caught up in the emotional negativity and focus on sending them positivity and metta in the ways you have seen above
Step five: In the final stage bring these four people together in your mind and extend metta towards them all. Then extend your feelings towards everyone around you, your neighbours, neighbourhood, town, city, country and then out to the world and our universe. Let these feelings of love come from your heart and reach out to all sentient beings. Slowly go back through the stages and bring the metta back towards your heart knowing that this can be extended at any time. Slowly and calmly come out of your meditation and relax.
This meditation is beautiful and can be done in ten minutes or you can really take your time and do it for an extended period, either way it is a wonderful start to any day and a wonderful way to go to sleep
Om Mani Padme Hum