Friday, October 30, 2020

Metta Meditation

Metta meditation is a type of meditation that produces feelings of goodwill or love.

Someone on a discussion forum was having trouble with the form of metta meditation they were trying. It wasn't working, and they were asking for help. They didn't like working from a script which reminded them of unpleasant memories of ritual prayer. I suggested the following technique which the person reported worked for them right away.

  • Think of someone you love. Visualize them. Observe the feeling of love you feel for them. It could also be an animal or a spiritual figure. That's all. No script. Just observe the feeling of love you feel for one other being. You don't have to do this during your meditation session, you can try it when you are lying in bed going to sleep.

  • It might not work every time you try it, there are all sorts of things that can interfere with your brain chemistry that can affect it, (diet, stress, etc). If it isn't working on a particular day, don't worry about it just stop and try again on another day. But if it works sometimes, then keep trying every day.

  • After a number of sessions if this works with one being, you can add another being. Over the course of a number of sessions add more people, add people you are not as close to - gradually widening to groups of people and eventually to all beings.

  • Later on, if you want to add a script to help you remember everyone and all the groups, make one up yourself, something that means something to you. But also visualize and observe your feelings. If you feel love at the beginning of a session but the feeling stops before you get to everyone on your list, then stop. Don't push it if you don't feel it. Stick to what you can sincerely feel love for. If that means you stick with one person that's okay. Metta is metta.

  • If you have trouble feeling metta for even one being: Think of yourself, visualize yourself, think of compassion for yourself for all the difficulties you've had in life. Then try to feel love for yourself. If that works, move on to one other being etc. as above. (You can do this for yourself even if you are able to feel love for another being). Again, no script, just visualize and observe  your feelings.

  • If you have trouble finding a being to love, it can be anyone from your past, they don't have to be alive, it can be someone from a novel or movie you feel compassion for, you can even make up a fictional person. The point is to find something that triggers the feeling of love when you think about them. You can even try an object to start with, like maybe your first car. Some people believe all matter is conscious, and everything that exists or existed in the physical plane also exists eternally in the spiritual plane. So whatever you love most can work to get the process started.
If you want to try a more traditional form of metta meditation I recommend the one on this web page:

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