What Is Metta Meditation?

Jillian O Keeffe

Metta meditation is a form of relaxation and spiritual technique that originates in the Buddhist religion. A practitioner of this type of meditation typically focuses mental energy on feelings of love for himself or herself, and other people. Typically, this is performed through a repetition of positive sentences while seated in a quiet area.

Metta meditation focuses on feelings of love.
Metta meditation focuses on feelings of love.

The practice of meditation in general aims to relax and invigorate the thoughts and actions of its practitioners. Metta meditation is one particular form of meditation, where positive phrases are essential to the technique. Metta is a word of the Pali language of Southeast Asia, where this form of meditation first arose as part of the Buddhist tradition of the area. The word translates into English as "loving kindness," a concept which is intrinsic to people who practice Metta meditation.

Soaking in warm water can help with meditation.
Soaking in warm water can help with meditation.

Typically, a person new to the Metta meditation technique first finds a quiet and relaxing place to sit. Then he or she takes a few slow breaths to relax further, before saying several key phrases out loud. These key phrases first focus on the meditating person, and generally include such simple wishes as those for happiness, security and love. These positive wishes are called Metta, and each meditative session generally starts off with Metta. Unconditional love for self and for other people is the aim of the meditative process.

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Some poems focus on the issues of love, passion and companionship.
Some poems focus on the issues of love, passion and companionship.

After the personal Metta, the person then offers Metta for another person that is important in his or her life. After these Metta fall naturally into the meditation routine, other people can be involved in a daily Metta offering, until the person can apply the offerings of positivity to all people. Although a novice meditator may only spend a few minutes each day on the meditation, he or she may then work up to as much as an hour of Metta meditation a day. A focus on the statements, and forgetfulness of the surroundings, are also important for the Metta meditation technique.

Forgetfulness of a person’s surroundings is important for the Metta meditation technique.
Forgetfulness of a person’s surroundings is important for the Metta meditation technique.

Even people who are disliked by the meditator can be included in the technique, in order to test the boundaries of the unconditional love of the meditation process. While performing the relaxation, the person may experience feelings like anger or hurt, which is a normal occurrence during the attempt at feelings of unconditional love. The technique is appropriate for home use, or meditative institutions may offer courses or retreats in group settings.

Like most forms of Buddhist meditation, the Metta technique can be performed individually or in groups.
Like most forms of Buddhist meditation, the Metta technique can be performed individually or in groups.
Meditation can help someone feel more positive.
Meditation can help someone feel more positive.

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