The practice of Metta Bhavana is to meditate with the intention of feeling compassion for all beings, including yourself. ‘Metta’ itself is Pali for ‘love’ of a non-romantic kind, more like compassion.
The meditation is split into 5 stages, which are as follows.
(Before meditating make sure you find a quiet, out of the way place to carry out your meditation. Make sure you’re sat comfortably and if you feel uncomfortable at any stage then don’t hesitate to cut your meditation short)
1-Feel Metta for yourself
Focus on yourself as a being, and concentrate on feelings of tranquility, compassion and kindness. Allow these feelings to flow through you. Imagine them as a golden light. Using mantras such as “May I be well and happy” may also assist, but this is down to personal preference.
2-Feel Metta for a friend
Now concentrate on a good friend. Someone you know well and love. Again, conjure up those feelings of tranquility, peace and compassion. Think about what it is you admire and enjoy about your friend, and encourage those feelings.
3-Feel Metta for someone else
By someone else, this means someone you neither like or dislike. Think about a neutral person in your life and focus on the fact that they are another human being, and are just as entitled to love and compassion as much as you or anyone else in the world.
4-Feel Metta for an enemy
This one may not be an actual ‘enemy’, but just someone you dislike. Again, as with the neutral person, this enemy is entitled to love and compassion just as much as anyone else. Focus not on what makes them your enemy, but what could potentially make them a friend. As hard as it may be, focus on their positive qualities, and encourage those feelings like fanning a flame.
5-Feel Metta for everyone
In this stage extend your feelings of compassion beyond the four people you’ve been dwelling on and feel compassion for the entire world around you. Acknowledge that everyone is connected together on this planet and the thing binding us together is an underlying lover for one another.
Now take a few moments to sit quietly and breathe. I hope this has helped you with your meditation!