Metta meditation, also know as loving-kindness meditation, is a mindfulness based modality which helps deepens your meditation practice. My view on meditation is that there is no one meditation which is superior to others. Just as you need to exercise different physical muscles, you can utilize various forms of meditation to sharpen your mind muscle.
I have linked a Scientific American article at the end which describes the benefits of meditation.
Metta means “benevolence,” “loving-kindness,” “friendliness,” “goodwill,” and “active interest in others.” It is about finding the space deep within where we can develop empathy and love to all beings.
The Crown Jewel of our Brain – The Prefrontal Cortex
If our brain is the treasure, then the prefrontal cortex is the crown jewel of it all.
Think of our brain as an onion. At the very core is the inner or limbic brain. This part of the brain regulates hunger, breathing, body temperature, and unconscious functions relating to survival. Surrounding this is the cortex where we process sensory information (visual and auditory) and where we store memory. The next layer is the neocortex; this area of the brain is where we perceive, analyze, create, and visualize
The very apex of the cortex is the prefrontal cortex. This is the seat of our consciousness–it is where we access our sense of self and where we gain control over decisions and urges.
Brain-imaging research has shown that metta meditation activates and engages the prefrontal cortex. More specifically, it activates the inferior frontal gyrus, an anterior associated with viewing other individual’s emotional states.
Additionally, metta meditation also dampens the activity of the amygdala–the area of the brain associated with fear, anger, and stress.
The Top 5 Benefits of Metta Meditation are:
- Increasing compassion towards others and ourselves
- Reduces physical pain
- Enhances social relationships
- Improves Stress and Anxiety
- Extends our lives
Metta Meditation Practice
1. Start by saying:
“May I be well.
May I be healthy.
May I be happy.
May l have peace in my life.”
2. Now, think of a friend or someone very close to you, then say outloud:
“May he/she be well.
May he/she be healthy.
May he/she be happy.
May he/she have peace in his/her life.”
3. Now, think of your worst enemy or someone who you really irks you. With them in mind, say outloud:
“May they be well.
May they be healthy.
May they be happy.
May they have peace in their life.”
5. Finally, to end, say outloud:
“May all beings be well.
May all beings be healthy.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings have peace in his/her life.”
Did you notice anything after doing this practice? Was is uncomfortable or strange to wish peace on your enemy? Did it feel strange to wish health and happiness on yourself? Did you feel goosebumps or corniness to wish yourself feelings of health, wellbeing, and peace?
Welcome to the power of metta meditation.
To Summarize (TLDR)
Metta meditation is a mindfulness based practice of wishing well to ourselves, our loved ones, those we dislike, and the world. It has many health benefits including decreasing pain, anxiety, stress, and even has been shown to protect our DNA.