At our First Full Moon event of the year, we shared in a group metta meditation, which focuses on cultivating compassion for ourselves and others. Metta means loving kindness. Try this contemplative practice solo or with a small group like your own family or group of close friends.
Begin with you. Say the following phrases out loud or silently to yourself.
May I be filled with loving kindness
May I be safe.
May I be well in body and mind.
May I be at ease and happy.
You may repeat these phrases* as many times as you'd like until you feel a sense loving kindness grow within you. Remain compassionate and patient towards yourself regardless of your experience. If you're new to this, it can take some practice.
When you feel ready to broaden your meditation to include other people, bring to mind someone you care for. Say the following phrases out loud or silently as if you were speaking to them. Be aware of loving kindness that fills you. Repeat the phrases as many times as you'd like.
May you be filled with loving kindness.
May you be safe.
May you be well in body and mind.
May you be at ease and happy.
The next phase of the practice (and this is optional) is to bring someone to mind with whom you have difficulty. Say the same phrases as above out loud or silently as if you were speaking to this particular person. Repeat as many times as you need to. Again, remain compassionate towards yourself as this may be challenging.
When you feel ready to expand your meditation even more, direct the phrases below to all living beings on Earth:
May all beings be filled with loving kindness.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings be well in body and mind.
May all beings be at ease and happy.
Allow this practice to happen as it needs to; perhaps working with yourself for a while or starting with a loved one if that feels more natural. There's no wrong or right. Practice whenever and wherever you feel compelled to increase compassion and connection within yourself and towards other. Studies have shown that this particular type of meditation practice has many health benefits including stress relief, relaxation, and reduces chronic pain. Read more about that here.
*wording adapted from Jack Kornfield's website.