The loving-kindness, or metta, meditation can be performed anywhere. It is not an exercise mainly for the meditation cushion. It is best performed while you are walking around, even while interacting with others.
It can be used to reduce anger, stress, and feelings of paranoia that are so common in modern life. Other people and their actions and words can feel very threatening whn we are not securely acting from a place of compassion towards ourselves and others.
One should practice metta in all aspects of life- in mundane daily activities, iduring meditation, and with all physical acts as well as what we say and think in our private minds. It can salve a restless, troubled mind even in the midst of violence and turmoil.
To perform metta, one should know the meaning of ‘loving-kindness’. The Karaniya Sutta describes metta as wishing all beings, even strangers and people who repulse you, to be well and happy without any selfish desires attached, just as a mother (ideally) loves her child. This includes arousing sympathetic joy for someone else’s success that you may have desired for yourself.
While meditating, you should begin with yourself, because you too are deserving of loving-kindness and should not neglect yourself as an epicenter for peace. Then commence visualizing people you love and respect, the people you look up to such as teachers, mentors and leaders that mean something to you. Imagine them smiling and happy and in good health and . The second stage is to think of the people in your family, those who are familiar and dear to you. Think of those who you are romantically involved with last here so that you don’t arouse lust, which involves personal desire for gratification.
The third stage is visualizing all of the masses of people you have never met- strangers who have no connection to you on a personal level. Imagine them interacting peacefully and harmoniously, supporting each other’s happiness through Right Action, Right Thinking, and Right Speech. Lastly, visualize everyone that repulses you- someone that has hurt you or someone you know, and even the people that have committed great wrongs. If at this point you feel that you can continue, you may even wish to include all beings, man or animal, in this world and in all worlds of the past, present or future.
Some may find it more possible to develop this practice by doing the first stage and then adding the second after several weeks or months of practice, and so on. It is extremely difficult to work up compassion for someone despicable to you on the first try, so if you feel a strong resistance it may be best to slow down and take it easy on yourself.
Those who practice metta in this way will find after a while that they are capable of opening up to others in a way they had not thought possible. There may also be a sudden realization that there was a subtle, unconscious habit of stripping other of their essential humanity and rights. The mind can be quite deceptive about they way things really are, by setting up an invisible barrier between the self and others.
Different teacher suggest different methods for practicing metta, and it’s fun to explore all of the different viewpoints. Pema Chodron of the Tibetan tradition recommends sitting in a public place and touching each person one sees with your attention and gently reminding yourself, “Like me, they too are seeking peace.” A more traditional phrase might be something like, “May all beings be well and happy.” Any way you do it, this is a very active and productive meditation that can easily become a habit in daily life.
Each in our own ways, with all the unhealthy habits and ideas we have picked up in our lifetimes, people are looking to satisfy the cravings and desires we have that we believe will lead to a permanent, lasting happiness. While this idea of a permanent happiness is truthfully an unattainable goal, developing insight during this practice can help one have a more wholesome and positive outlook on the world. This has the effect of increasing one’s own personal happiness and in turn making those around you happier as well. It works amazingly and surprisingly well.
(This Article was taken by Sokia ky’s facebook wall)