Writing Metta Meditations

I learned a new term this past week that I hadn’t heard of and after looking into it a bit, I think it’s great, so I’m bringing it into today’s blog post. It’s called Metta Practice or Metta Mediation and is also known as loving-kindness meditation. Metta means “positive energy and kindness towards others” in Pali, a language spoken in northern India.

The goal of Metta meditation is to promote kindness for all beings, including yourself and friends, family, pets, neighbors, acquaintances, co-workers, people in your life who you may find to be difficult, nature, the planet…

This ancient Buddhist practice has been used for thousands of years and involves wishing good things for others, but you first wish them for yourself. This is perhaps not just wishing these things but developing them, cultivating them and the practice leaves you being compassionate with yourself, loving yourself and also being compassionate with others and loving others.

I want to incorporate writing into this practice in two ways. First to write down the phrases you want to speak aloud and meditate upon and then after doing the Metta meditation, writing a journal sort of response about feelings that came up for you, thoughts you had, what it was like.

So, to begin. Please write 3 phrases for yourself that you would like to say:

Examples: May I be happy. May I be safe. May I be calm.

If you want to write three similar but different ones, that’s fine or if you want to use these, that’s also fine, just write them down.

Next write down 3 of the people or animals or nature pieces of the planet listed above you would like to promote these things for. Once you have your list, write them for those people or animals or nature. If you want to choose more than three, that’s fine too.

Examples:

  1. For my neighbor Beverly: May you be happy. May you be safe. May you be calm.
  2. For my mother-in-law Mary: May you be happy. May you be safe. May you be calm.
  3. For the earth: May you be happy. May you be safe. May you be calm.

Next, begin breathing deep breaths, centering yourself and then reciting first the phrases toward yourself for at least 3 times and then go through the ones for each of the beings your wrote down. If any negative thoughts or feelings come up, that is normal and no reason to have any judgement around them, just keep reciting the phrases until your feelings change to compassionate feelings. If you keep doing this and the feelings don’t switch to compassionate feelings and stay negative, stop and write about this, write that your feelings are having a hard time finding compassion with this being. See where it leads you. Your willingness to explore shows your heart is open and loving.

When you have gone through the Metta meditation, write what you experienced, what did you notice about your thoughts, about your feelings. How do you feel about the other people you worked to cultivate kindness for? How do you feel about yourself? How do you feel about the process of cultivating kindness for yourself?

This Metta practice can help us feel better in ourselves and toward others and like other forms of meditation, can also reduce stress. Try it out and write about it. If you don’t have instant results, that’s okay, you will still have something to write. Give yourself time, be patient with yourself and the process. Practice can make this an even more valuable practice.

If you don’t feel like you don’t have a lot of time, just a few minutes a day of the meditation will do and writing for a few minutes can add to your experience.

Thank you for your willingness to do these activities and to write.

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May you be well. May you be creative. May you be calm.

Best,

Liza

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(Liza Wolff-Francis)

Published by lizawolfffrancis

Liza Wolff-Francis is a poet and writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College who is proud to have served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival and a member of the 2008 Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team. She has an ekphrastic poem posted in Austin’s Blanton Art Museum by El Anatsui’s sculpture “Seepage” and her work has most recently appeared in Steam Ticket, eMerge, Minute Magazine, Weaving the Terrain: 100 Word Southwestern Poems, Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems, Poetic Routes, Poetry Pacific, Edge, and on various blogs. She has a chapbook out called Language of Crossing (2015, Swimming with Elephant Publications), which is a collection of poems about the Mexico- U.S. border. She loves breakfast food, popcorn and dark chocolate.

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