Loving Kindness (Maitri) Meditation

Instructions for Loving Kindness Meditation

Unless we train the mind and heart through meditative discipline, our love will stay limited and conditional forever. But with some effort, and with the wisdom that arises through meditation, the heart’s capacity for love will grow and grow, eventually expanding to the ability to stay loving in the midst of painful situations. Noah Levine.

If you judge people (including yourself), you have no time to love them (or yourself). Mother Theresa.

If we wish to be happier, but are unwilling to make an unselfish effort to do so, we should expect nothing different.

Practice is about finally being able to open completely to the whole range of our experience, including all that wanting, including all that hurt, including the pain and the joy. Opening to the whole thing, but not attaching to anything, so that this little child-like part of us can finally, finally, finally, finally grow up.
Take a good meditation posture and allow your mind to settle into a peaceful abiding, shamatha, experience.
Give yourself permission to simply relax, follow the breath and feel present.(Sit for a few minutes)

Now begin to reflect on your deepest desire for happiness and freedom from suffering. Allow your heart’s sincere longing for truth and wellbeing to come into your consciousness.

With each breath, breathe into the heart’s center and acknowledge your wish to be happy, at ease, and to experience love and kindness.
(Sit for a few minutes)
Close your eyes for the contemplations on Loving Kindness.

Slowly begin to offer yourself these kind and friendly phrases with the intention to uncover the heart’s sometimes hidden loving and kind response. 

“May I be happy.”    “May I be at ease.”    “May I feel Loving Kindness.” 

Your attention may be drawn back into thinking about other things, or resisting and judging the practice or your capacity for love. It takes a gentle and persistent effort to return to the next phrase each time the attention wanders: 

Simply repeat these phrases over and over to yourself.  Sometimes all we see is our lack of kindness and the judging mind’s resistance. Simply acknowledge what is happening and continue to repeat the phrases, being as friendly with yourself as possible.

“May I be happy.”     “May I be at ease.”     “May I feel Loving Kindness.”

Feel the breath and the body’s response to each phrase.

Allow the mind and body to relax into the reverberations of each phrase.

(Sit for a few minutes with this contemplation)

Now bring to mind a particular person. Perhaps one that is having difficulties in their life, or one that you are having a difficult time with.
Instead of having a resentment, if you wish someone Loving Kindness, the healing can begin.

“May you be happy.”   “May you be at ease.   “May you feel Loving

(Sit for a few minutes with this contemplation)                                                                      ——————————————————————————————————————–

Now bring to mind everyone in the room or on your block, picture them in your mind, and begin to offer them loving and kind phrases.

“May you be happy.”    “May you be at ease.”     “May you feel Loving Kindness.”

(Sit for a few minutes with this contemplation)  

Now expand to include all beings in the world, in the universe.

“May all beings be happy.”   “May all beings be at ease.”
May all beings feel Loving Kindness

(Sit for a few minutes with this contemplation)  

Now, simply let go of the phrases and bring your attention back to your breath and body.

Sit in peaceful abiding meditation for a few minutes, relaxing into a clear present mind. 

Whenever you are ready, allow your eyes to open and your attention to come back to your surroundings.

Let the feeling of gentleness and Loving Kindness remain with you.