One of the simplest and most helpful forms of meditation that many have learned from Tibetan Buddhism is the practice of metta or “loving kindness meditation.” In this type of meditation, one practices a slow, mindful recitation (inward or spoken) of traditional wishes or intentions of goodwill toward self and others. One example of such statements (from Jack Kornfield) is:
May you be filled with lovingkindness.
May you be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May you be well in body and mind.
May you be at ease and happy.
Traditionally, one starts with expressing these intentions toward oneself (May I…), and then moving on toward those very easy to love, then toward people one is grateful for or someone more neutral, then toward those challenging to love (“enemies”) and finally for “all beings.”
It’s good to remember that the practice is about the direction of intentions, and there is no need to assess whether one is developing warm feelings nor should one be disturbed or distracted by any contrary thoughts or feelings that arise during the meditation. Such thoughts are simply accepted and attention is turned back to the phrases and intentions.
Here is an example of a guided meditation that we used:
We ended our time by taking note of the many research studies that have been done demonstrating the beneficial effects of this practice. You can see a summary of many of these studies here.