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Exercise: Loving Kindness Meditation: Metta Bhavana Practice
Reducing the Impact of Difficult People
[Download] [CD]

Summary: Reorienting Energy Bridges Between Yourself and Others

For Quick Access to This Exercise:

To get to the parts of this exercise you are most interested in viewing, click on the link below to go there. For best results, read through the entire exercise at least once.

Background on This Exercise
Goal of This Exercise
Preparation for This Exercise
How to Do This Exercise
Example of Exercise Results

Background: Love is the most powerful force in the universe. It is the universal solvent which cuts through all hate, all fears, all obstacles, all difficulties. Where difficult, problematic relationships exist, it is due to the absence of love energy between you and the other individual(s). Practicing loving kindness rebuilds the love energy bridges between you and other(s). This dissolves away the problems between you like magic - without you trying to change the other person!

Goal: Love is the only medicine that you can use to cure a bad relationship without ANY attempts to change the other individual(s) in it. Most importantly, directing pure, unconditional love to another does not invade their sacred space or involve you in needless, unproductive arguments.

Know that building positive energy bridges between you and others by practicing loving kindness is VERY powerful but it WILL take time for the energy bridges you are building to manifest in your outer relationships ("as above, so below").

Preparation:

1> For best results, read the steps of this meditation into a recorder - leaving in appropriate pauses for meditation - and play it back to yourself while doing this exercise (or use our "Loving Kindness Meditation"). This exercise can be done in a group setting but more powerful results are achieved when you do it alone.

2> Being comfortable is the key. You can lie down (recommended) or sit up. If you opt to sit up, you must be supported and feel fully relaxed and comfortable.
......For more on "Relaxation Processes & Techniques",
click here.

3> Do this exercise once a day (twice a day if you can) for 30 minutes. Six minutes should be allowed for each of the five stages of this meditation - this will bring you to exactly 30 minutes. If you are doing this exercise by yourself, do it where you can be quiet and undisturbed for the whole session.

4> Be patient with yourself and the universe. Your difficult relationships took time to manifest that way. It will take time for you to repair the poor streams of energy between you and these others and to replace them with loving energy.

How to Do This Exercise:

1> Take some deep, refreshing breaths until you are totally comfortable and relaxed in whatever position you have chosen (it should take you no more than 3 minutes to get comfortable).

2> The Metta Bhavana Practice: Stage 1 - Loving Yourself

a> To truly practice unconditional love, you must start by loving yourself - just as you are - fully and unconditionally. The truth is that you cannot truly love others until you have first learned to really love yourself. For you to love yourself, you must accept yourself just as you are now. To do that, you must forgive yourself your past, allow yourself your future, and be at peace with the present.

b> Place the fingertips of both hands together and put them directly over your heart. Say to yourself aloud with the greatest love, sincerity, and compassion: "May I be loved, may I be joyful, may all things go well for me."

c> Allow any thoughts or feelings you have about this to freely flow as you repeat this phrase and meditate on it for the next 6 minutes. Feel the love of God for you and your own love for yourself fill your heart to overflowing.

d> Do not resist or deny your thoughts and feelings. Instead, simply let them be and focus on repeating the above phrase of loving kindness and on growing the love you have for yourself within your own heart.

Let your love shine on you and let your self forgiveness break up any negative or unloving thoughts and feelings you hold about yourself. This takes time to achieve - LET IT!!

3> The Metta Bhavana Practice: Stage 2 - Loving a Dear Friend

a> To truly practice unconditional love, you continue by experiencing the love you have for a dear friend or a family member. This should be someone within 20 years of your age and of the same sex as yourself. Ideally, this is someone you enjoy spending time with and are totally comfortable being around.

b> Place the fingertips of both hands together and put them directly over your heart. Say to yourself aloud with the greatest love, sincerity, and compassion: "May they be loved, may they be joyful, may all things go well for them."

c> Allow any thoughts or feelings you have about this dear friend to freely flow inside you as you repeat this phrase and meditate on it for the next 6 minutes. Feel the joy in your heart and allow love for this dear friend to fill you.

d> Do not resist or deny your thoughts and feelings. Instead, simply let them be and focus on repeating the above phrase of loving kindness and on growing the love you have for your friend within your own heart.

Let your love shine on them and let your forgiveness of any unpleasant situations you may have had with your friend, family member, or with friends in general break up any of your negative or unloving thoughts and feelings about them. This takes time to achieve - LET IT!!

4> The Metta Bhavana Practice: Stage 3 - Loving a Neutral Person

a> To truly practice unconditional love, you continue by experiencing the love you have for a neutral person. This could be a family member. This should be someone for whom you have neither positive or negative feelings. Ideally, this should be someone you know very little about: someone who is an acquaintance.

b> Place the fingertips of both hands together and put them directly over your heart. Say to yourself aloud with the greatest love, sincerity, and compassion: "May they be loved, may they be joyful, may all things go well for them."

c> Allow any thoughts or feelings you have about this neutral person to freely flow inside you as you repeat this phrase and meditate on it for the next 6 minutes. Feel the joy in your heart and allow love for this neutral person to fill you. Know that at the highest levels, we are all known to one another and we are all one

d> Do not resist or deny your thoughts and feelings. Instead, simply let them be and focus on repeating the above phrase of loving kindness and on growing the love you have for this neutral person within your own heart.

Let your love shine on them and let your forgiveness of any unpleasant situations you may have had with the public, casual acquaintances, or strangers break up any of your negative or unloving thoughts and feelings about them. This takes time to achieve - LET IT!!

5> The Metta Bhavana Practice: Stage 4 - Loving an Enemy

a> To truly practice unconditional love, you continue by experiencing the love you have for an enemy. By "enemy", we mean someone you are currently having some difficulty with: this could be a family member, a friend, a coworker. This should be someone with whom you are experiencing negative communication. Ideally, this should be the most difficult person in your life today. Most people have the least difficulty in identifying an "enemy". Most people - who are interested in doing this exercise - already have an "enemy" chilling their energetic space.

b> Place the fingertips of both hands together and put them directly over your heart. Say to yourself aloud with the greatest love, sincerity, and compassion: "May they be loved, may they be joyful, may all things go well for them."

c> Allow any thoughts or feelings you have about your enemy to freely flow as you repeat this phrase and meditate on it for the next 6 minutes. You are able to feel love for your enemy because you know that all pain is born out of ignorance. You can easily forgive your enemy's ignorance and fill the cold, empty energetic space this has created between you with love. You can love and forgive your enemy because they are Soul as you are and, at the highest levels, we all are one.

d> Do not resist or deny your thoughts and feelings. Instead, simply let them be and focus on repeating the above phrase of loving kindness and on growing the love you have for your enemy within your own heart.

Let your love shine on the enemy and let your forgiveness of any unpleasant situations you may have had with your enemy or any other difficult people - past or present- break up any of your negative and unloving thoughts and feelings about them. This takes time to achieve - LET IT!!

6> The Metta Bhavana Practice: Stage 5 - Loving All Life

a> To truly practice unconditional love, you continue by radiating your pure love and compassion to all four categories of people: yourself, your friend, your neutral person, and your enemy. The goal is to become in love with all life.

b> Place the fingertips of both hands together and put them directly over your heart. Say to yourself aloud with the greatest love, sincerity, and compassion: "May all be loved, may all be joyful, may all things go well for everyone."

c> Allow any thoughts or feelings you have about everyone to freely flow as you repeat this phrase and meditate on it for the next 6 minutes. The goal is to become so filled with unconditional love for all life that you love yourself, your friend, your neutral person, and your enemy equally. So equally that if you were asked to pick who you loved the most you would not be able to do so. Your love has truly become totally unconditional when it radiates equally to all four types of people.

d> From these four types pf people, you slowly expand your loving kindness to all beings everywhere. You move to where you can love all life unconditionally and can love all beings - whether they be a mass murderer or a saint - realizing that there is no difference between ourselves and all other beings - all are one. Say "May all beings everywhere be at peace. May I be at peace with all beings."

Example:

Being a healer, I used this exercise to heal a difficult relationship that I had with a family member. After a bitter argument, we had stopped speaking to one another. When I decided to do this exercise, we had not spoken for years. Nothing had ever changed in our relationship until I started doing this "Loving Kindness" Meditation. It opened pathways of communication between us that I would have never believed possible. Bottom line: this exercise works - PERIOD.

As you do this exercise, keep in mind one thing… that the basis for all love is love of self. As you love yourself more, you love others more. As you love others more, you love yourself more. This says it best:

"Inside the Secret Chambers of this Heart God gave to me,
like Hidden Treasures none shall ever find,
One tiny diamond sparkled with a light all of its own,
visions of a Love that could be mine,

Each day for years I wakened with a prayer upon my lips,
you may have even uttered it before,
Oh, God, please give me someone who can love me as I am,
understanding all that I've been praying for…

My secret love no other can know…
Yet, now I see that someone needs to hear it said aloud,
Read the hidden message that is buried in my eyes:

The truth is there for you alone to see…
...If you would know the name of my one truest, dearest Love,
...'Tis you, my sweet, my own self, and now the secret's free!"

Credits: Tony Hicks ("Jewel of Love" Tony Hicks Copyright 1999)

Credits: adapted from the Buddhist "Metta Bhavana - Loving Kindness Meditation" as
described in the "The BodyMind Workbook" by Debbie Shapiro


 

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