Metta Meditation (also known as metta bhavana) is focused on the emotion of loving-kindness. Metta means love (in the non-romantic sense), friendliness or kindness. Bhavana means development or cultivation.

As you begin this meditation focus on the emotion of compassion felt in the heart. Start with about 5 minutes for each of the 5 stages.

kindness rock

Feel free to use the images and mantras for all of the stages or to leave them out. If you have a recording device on your phone or computer you can read this and then listen to the meditation or pass it along to your favourite meditation/yoga teacher and ask to have it in the next class you attend.

Stage 1

  • Feel loving-kindness (metta) for yourself
  • Become aware of your breath and this moment
  • Focus on feelings of peace, calm, and tranquillity
  • Begin to feel strong and confident and feel love growing in your heart
  • If an image helps – visualize golden light flooding your body
  • If a mantra helps – say to yourself, ‘may I be well and happy’

Stage 2

  • Bring a good friend to mind – think of all of their good qualities
  • Feel your connection with your friend and metta towards them
  • Mantra to say to yourself – ‘may they be well, may they be happy’
  • Image – shining light from your heart to theirs

Stage 3

  • Bring to mind a person that you don’t have a like or dislike towards
  • Can be someone you don’t know well – your feelings are neutral to them
  • Reflect on their humanity and send them metta
  • Use the same mantra and image as stage 2 if that helps

Stage 4

  • Bring to mind someone you dislike
  • Try not to get caught up in the details of why and the feelings of dislike
  • Think of this person in a positive light and send them metta

Stage 5

  • Think of all the people from this meditation – self, friend, neutral person and enemy
  • Extend your feelings to everyone around you in this room, building, town, country, world and then universe
  • Send out waves of loving-kindness from your heart to every being
  • Begin to relax out of this meditation, come back to the breath and to this place
  • Tip forward slightly and let your eyes blink open when you are ready