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Monday
Apr022012

3. Loving-kindness guided meditation script

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute, and long-time meditation practitioner and author of "Happy not hassled".

Emotional intelligence involves being able to manage your own emotions.

Part of being able to do this includes the ability to develop positive emotions in yourself.

A meditation called loving-kindness meditation has been scientifically proven to help with this.

When you develop positive emotions you are less likely to be buffeted by negative emotions such as frustration, anxiety or anger.

Instead, you are more likely to feel contentment, be creative and stay calm.

If people practise this loving-kindness meditation, (also known as metta meditation), regularly, it can help them to stay positive towards themselves and others.

It can also help to keep people calm in difficult situations and reduce irritation and anger, which is all part of developing emotional intelligence.

I have had a regular meditation practice for 29 yrs and loving-kindness is my main practice. Metta meditation has improved my emotional well-being enormously. I have used it to dissolve anger and bitterness from the past, for developing my emotional intelligence and for overcoming panic attacks. I speak from experience.

Often it is easier to practise loving-kindness meditation, at least initially, while someone experienced in the meditation guides you. In this way you are not focused on a script and can sink into the feelings instead. There are no worries about timing or doing it right, it is all there for you to follow. A warm, kind voice can also help to soothe and settle. 

I have recorded a loving-kindness meditation for you. It is available on a set of MP3s along with three other guided meditations and explanations of how to use the meditations. I recommend you start with this.

MP3s: $29 (US). Add to Cart

Loving-kindness: A guided meditation script

Although we often use words when we are learning loving-kindness meditation, the words are only secondary props. The focus of the meditation is on a feeling, a feeling of loving-kindness. Over time the words can fade and you simply be left with the feeling. That is the aim. 

1. Sit quietly and comfortably.

Sit in a comfortable way but without being in a sleepy position.

For example, sit with your back straight, head up, feet on the floor and your arms gently in your lap.

Simply sit and notice yourself in sitting.

Breathe naturally.

Watch your breath going in and your breath going out. Keep focusing on your breathing for a while.

2. Place your attention on the area around your heart.

Place your attention on the area in the middle of your chest, around your heart.

Repeat to yourself gently and softly, feeling the resonance of the words: "Love, love, love, may my heart be filled with love..."

As you say this, if you like, bring to mind something that you feel caring and loving towards.

It may be an image of a soft, lovable dog, or the serene look on someone's face, or a baby, or the feeling of the soft fur as you stroke a kitten ...

This image is simply to help you kick-start the feelings.

If a feeling of loving-kindness arises without the need of these images there is no need for the images.

3. Experience feeling love through your whole body.

Experience this feeling of warmth and love through your whole body.

Feel the sense of caring, healing and soothing. Let it wash over you and through you while you gently repeat silently to yourself:

  • May I be well, healthy and strong.
  • May I be happy.
  • May I abide in peace.

Sometimes people find this stage difficult to do. It may be helpful to spend some days or weeks simply cultivating loving-kindness for yourself. There is no need to rush on. The number of people you send the feeling of loving-kindness to is not what is important, it is developing the quality of the feeling that matters.

4. Bring into your mind someone you like a lot and respect.

Bring into your mind someone you like a lot and respect.

Send them these feelings of warmth and caring, as you wish them well:

  • May you be well.
  • May you be happy.
  • May you abide in peace.

If you have a feeling of loving-kindness you may not need the words.

If the words are too many for you, simply saying, "May you be happy" is also fine.

5. Bring to mind someone else you like and respect.

Do this with someone else who is equally important, that you like and respect. Choose someone that you find it very easy to spread loving-kindness to.

Send them these feelings of warmth and caring, as you wish them well:

May you be well.

May you be happy.

May you abide in peace.

A full recording of a 30 minute loving-kindness meditation is on my MP3s "Happy not hassled". Let my voice ease you into loving-kindness.

MP3s: $29 (US). Add to Cart

6. Bring to mind someone you feel neutral about.

Do this with someone you barely know and feel neutral about. This may be someone you have seen in the street, who you see on the bus, or pass in the corridor at work.

Send them these feelings of warmth and caring, as you wish them well:

  • May you be well.
  • May you be happy.
  • May you abide in peace.

Sometimes people find the feelings of loving-kindness weaken. If this happens you may always return to an earlier stage and rekindle the warmth and loving-kindness. There is no need to rush on. It is developing the quality of the feeling that matters.

7. Bring to mind someone you got irritated with recently.

Do this with someone you got irritated/upset with today or this week. Chose someone with whom you have got mildly irritated, someone who "got up your nose". It may have been a slow driver, or someone at work. This is not the time to go to someone who has been very hurtful towards you.

Send them these feelings of warmth and caring, as you wish them well:

  • May you be well.
  • May you be happy.
  • May you abide in peace.

8. If you wish, bring to mind someone who's hurt you.

If you wish, do this with someone who has hurt you in the past. 

You may not want to do this early in your practice of loving-kindness but you may work towards including someone you carry bitterness, hatred or resentment towards.

You are not condoning or approving of what they have done. You are simply allowing yourself to let the pain and anger you carry towards them to go, as the pain and anger hurts you more than anyone else. 

Send them these feelings of warmth and caring, as you wish them well:

  • May you be well.
  • May you be happy.
  • May you abide in peace.

9. Radiate the warmth and love to the people around you.

Send the loving-kindness to everyone in your suburb, in your city, in the nation, in the world:

  • May you all be well,
  • May you all be happy,
  • May you all abide in peace,

10. Bring your attention back to yourself.

Focus once again on yourself, so the feeling of loving-kindness fills your whole being; breathing in peacefully, breathing out peacefully; at peace with yourself and the world.

Then slowly let the feelings of loving-kindness ease and return once again to focusing on just your breathing.

Then return to once again noticing yourself sitting.

Then slowly open your eyes and return to the room.

NB: This loving-kindness meditation is based on a very long Buddhist tradition spanning over 2500 years. It has been adapted from teachings I have received from numerous meditation teachers and particularly a Buddhist monk called Ajahn Jagaro. My deep thanks.

Emotional intelligence: How calm and kind are you?

To help you develop your skills in loving-kindness meditation I have made a recording of a 30 minute loving-kindness meditation on my MP3s "Happy not hassled". Let my voice ease you into loving-kindness. It is often easier to learn it with guidance, than when you are trying to guide yourself, you have enough to do already!

MP3s: $29 (US). Add to Cart

May you be well and happy.

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