As we settled into a relaxed seated pose, I assumed a few shoulder stretches were next. The yoga instructor raised her arms. She showed four different postures we would explore, then guided us into the first one.
As we moved, she asked us to repeat to ourselves:
May I be happy.
May I be well.
May I be safe.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
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Ah, I knew exactly where this flow was going. We were diving into a metta meditation, a beautiful Buddhist meditation that I’ve practiced on my own for months.
The spoken word mantra and guided visualization is meant to extend well-wishes to all beings, including ourselves and our enemies. It’s truly a selfless prayer.
“Metta is an ancient Pali (Buddhist) term meaning loving-kindness, friendliness, benevolence and non-violence. It is a strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others. ” ~ Metta Institute
As we moved through the class, we extended kindness to ourselves, a loved one, a person who we find difficult and the world at large. It’s a mindfulness practice that challenges you to be aware of your thoughts while discovering acceptance and forgiveness.
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It’s common for feelings of joy and gratitude to be met with sadness, grief or even anger. This release is a sign that your heart is softening and revealing what’s been buried, according to the Metta Institute.
This meditation practice is focused on the art of noticing. Don’t judge yourself or the thoughts that pop up. Just let the emotions untangle and flow from you. Observe what happens.
Here’s an instructional video of the metta meditation, if you’d like to try it for yourself.
You can learn more about loving-kindness meditations here:
- Metta Institute: Brief Instructions for Loving-Kindness Meditation
- Greater Good Magazine: Greater Happiness in 5 Minutes a Day
- The Buddhist Review: What is Metta Meditation?
My hope for you today is that you find kindness in your heart for yourself and those around you.
Until next time,
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