When the problems in our world seem insurmountable, I refer back to the Starfish Story, an allegory that reminds us not to underestimate the ripple effects of helping one individual. With all the human suffering happening on our planet at any given time, it's easy to become overwhelmed. We want to help others, but sometimes it's hard to know where to begin.
Metta meditation is a great practice to incorporate into your routine to become a beacon of love and peace in the world. It helps generate feelings of love and compassion toward yourself and others, so you can love your neighbor with ease. "Metta" is a Pali word derived from “Mita," which means friend. Think of this practice as sending someone a kind text message, but instead of the message being exchanged phone-to-phone, it's sent heart-to-heart.
The benefits of Metta meditation include increased empathy and openheartedness, seeing the best in others, more compassion for ourselves, and easing the pain in our hearts. Although this practice can be uplifting and inspiring, it can also be emotional. Be gentle with yourself as you begin.
How to Practice Metta Meditation
Find a comfortable seat to begin. Sit upright and keep your shoulders relaxed. Begin to breathe in and out, slowly and steadily.
Identify a phrase or sentence you can use to wish yourself well. These statements can be very general. Here are a few examples:
May I know peace
May I find ease in my daily exchanges
May I be happy and loved
May my journey pave my path to divine transformation
Create your own!
As you repeat these positive affirmations in your mind, let the warmth of self-love and peace flow through your body.
Next, bring another person to mind; someone that you find easy to love and have a positive relationship with such as a partner, friend, pet, or other loved one in your life. Hold their image steady in your mind.
Offer this person the same affirmations of love that you gave yourself. For example:
May you know peace
May you find ease in your daily exchanges
May you be happy and loved
May your journey pave your path to divine transformation
Create your own!
Picture your loved one receiving these messages of goodwill. Notice how it feels in your body when you offer love to someone else.
Continue the practice by offering the same affirmations to people farther outside of your circle, such as an acquaintance or someone you've seen at your local coffee shop. Notice how it feels to love your neighbor, even if you hardly know them.
Finally, send the love out to all beings. For example, "May all beings know peace." You can also experiment with extending love and peace to large groups of people such as healthcare workers, new mothers, or passionate protestors standing up for what's right.
If you feel comfortable, you can also offer the affirmations to an individual who you have had a conflict with or who has hurt you.
End your practice by offering the phrases to yourself once again.
How Metta Meditation Makes a Difference In the World
You may be thinking, 'But how does this really help anything? My neighbor can't hear my meditation.' Maybe not, but cultivating greater amounts of love and compassion impacts every word we speak and every action we take. We can't change the entire world on our own, but we can start with one, and it's okay if that "one" is ourselves.
When we do inner work, everyone in our world benefits. The more you love yourself, the easier it is to love others and vice versa. This simple practice can take as little to 5-10 minutes but has the potency to shift our mindset completely. It's a reminder that every being deserves peace and love and that we are all connected.
Ready to be the change you want to see? Consider scheduling a breakthrough call with me today for more tips on meditation, wellness, and living your best, healthiest life.