Last updated on November 25th, 2023.
The loving kindness meditation, used to increase compassion and promote wellbeing, can be done in just three simple steps that anyone can understand and follow.
The three steps to doing a loving kindness meditation are: Relax and prepare, receive loving kindness unto yourself, send loving kindness onto others. Doing this once daily can help you to focus your mind and improve things like your self-image.
Below, we will go in depth on these steps, and how you should preform each one so that you can get as much benefit out of this exercise as possible. This is information that you will not want to miss out on!
How Do You Do Loving Kindness Meditation?
The loving kindness meditation is simple and can be done in just a few easy steps. These steps are:
- Relax and Prepare– before anything, you need to prepare and get into the right mindset before doing the meditation. That way, you can remove other distractions that may be around you.
- Receive Loving Kindness unto Yourself– Essentially, you need to speak positive things about yourself to silence the inner critic, and to calm stressors in your life. That way you can get into a positive mindset.
- Send Loving Kindness onto Others– After you have been kind to yourself, it is easer to be kind to others. So, send love to your loved ones, acquaintances, and even those you don’t know.
This practice is said to bring many positives into one’s life in areas such as:
- Mental Health
- Physical Health
- Social Health.
Do not expect to see immediate changes after your first time though. It takes practice overtime to see these benefits in your life. The people that see the most benefits are those who have been doing it for several years.
Simple Steps to Doing A Loving Kindness Meditation
Now that you know the basics of how a loving kindness meditation is done, it’s time to go a lot more in depth.
You won’t want to miss out on the detailed instructions. Although you already know the basics, it is good to know the fine details so that you get as much out of the loving kindness meditation as possible.
So, here are the detailed three steps of the loving kindness meditation.
Step 1: Relax and Prepare
The first step is to get prepared for the loving kindness meditation.
Make sure that you have time carved out to do it in a place and time where you won’t be distracted. Even if you are busy with work, kids, etc. all you need is just a few minutes for the loving kindness meditation.
When you are in the place and time that you have set aside, you will want to begin by sitting on the floor. Close your eyes, relax your body, and bring your awareness inward.
To bring awareness inward, first, you will want to focus on your breathing. Breath in and out once, close your eyes, then continue breathing, focusing on each breath. With each exhale, imagine negativity flowing out. With each inhale, imagine goodness flowing in.
Step 2: Receive Loving Kindness Within
The second step is to receive loving kindness by speaking it over yourself.
After you have created this positive self-image, tell yourself positive phrases to bring loving kindness to yourself. What you may slightly vary based on who you learn the meditation from. In general, though, you can use phrases such as:
- “May I be happy
- May I be well
- May I be comfortable”
Although there may be some variance in what is said, the phrases used will have the same general idea. They all have the same idea of learning to manifest in your own life.
Do this so that you begin to feel comfortable with yourself and positive about who you are. You want to get to a state where you silence the self-critic and push the negative emotions out. That way, you can begin to send loving kindness to others.
Step 3: Send Loving Kindness onto Others
Now that you have spoken loving kindness over yourself, you can send loving kindness to others. It is much easier to send loving kindness to others when we love and are comfortable with who we are.
On this step, you want to transition from inward thought to outward thought of others. First, think of someone you love. They can be a friend, spouse, or significant other, a parent, or even your beloved pet.
In the same way, you received loving kindness onto yourself, send it onto the loved one. Think of the goodness and love they bring to your life and be thankful for it. Then, just as you spoke kindness over yourself, speak kindness over them. Say things such as
- “May you be happy
- May you be well”
After this, think of other people you are close with and repeat these steps.
Then, after thinking of several people you are close to, begin to spread loving kindness to acquaintances. Eventually, you will want to spread loving kindness to all living beings, to those you will never meet, and even those who you may have negative associations with.
To finish, open your eyes, breath in and out deeply, as needed. Then, focus on the thoughts and feelings you take out of the loving kindness meditation.
After that, you are done with the exercise, and you can get back to everyday life. As you go about your day though, pay attention to any differences you may feel towards yourself, others, and the world around you. Pay attention to whether your attitude towards these is more positive than when you woke up.
Does a Loving Kindness Meditation Work?
Personal anecdotes and studies suggest that loving kindness meditation works, and there are several benefits that one receives from it. Many individuals and studies have found that it works by helping people in several aspects of their life, such as:
- Promotes mental wellbeing– this meditation reduces the unnecessary self-criticism many have. It also increases positive feelings such as joy. This is a confidence boost that anyone would benefit from.
- Reduces anxiety and stress– Many also experience a reduction in their anxieties and stresses after doing this meditation. Reduced anxiety and stress can result in a longer and happier life.
- Longer life– Telomeres, a part of the DNA, shorten with age. It has been found that, due to reduced stress, telomeres were longer, specifically in women who practiced loving kindness meditation.
- Reduces physical pain– Evidence shows this meditation reduces pain. In particular, it has been shown to reduce the pain that many experiences because of migraine attacks.
- Improves Social Life– Finally, this meditation may also improve your social life. If you are kind to yourself, then it is easier to be kind and friendly with others. You will have the confidence needed to meet people and form bonds with them.
We are all human and have flaws. So, no matter where you are in life, everyone can gain something from this.
What is the Metta Prayer?
The Metta Prayer are the phrases that you say while doing a loving kindness meditation, such as:
- “May I be happy
- May I be well”
The word Metta itself translates to loving kindness, which is where the loving kindness meditation got its name. The practice of this prayer has been passed down for centuries, and it originates from Buddha.
The purpose of the prayer is to speak goodwill first over yourself, then over loved ones, and finally over all creatures, even those you will never encounter. Many believe that this is what helps bring less stress, better relationships, and personal peace.
Great Examples of Loving Kindness Meditations (YouTube)
So, the steps are great and all.
But some of us have a hard time learning from just instructions.
Some are visual learners, and it can be hard to do something without watching someone else do it first. Others may learn better if they can just hear the instructions and follow along with them. If this describes you, modern technology is here to save the day.
YouTube has many great videos explaining how to do a loving kindness meditation, taking you through it step by step.
Here’s one of our very own Yogi’s and content creators leading a Metta, Loving Kindness Meditation Video.
Below are a couple of other examples from YouTube on how to do the loving kindness meditation.
Keep in mind that the number of steps and the way they are done may slightly differ between different teachers. But, overall, they should be mostly similar and hit the same major points.
A Step by Step Audio and Visual Walkthrough
Jessica Richburg, a YouTuber with a niche focused on yoga, made a fifteen-minute video walkthrough in which she demonstrates how the loving kindness meditation is done.
The video has narrated instructions, along with the visual demonstration of what you should do. If you are looking a video version of a step-by-step guide, then this is a great choice for you!
An Audio Walkthrough to Follow Along With
Mindful Meditation also has a video on the loving kindness meditation, but it is slightly different.
First, the video is shorter at only five minutes in length. This makes it a great option for those with busy lives, who do not have much time on their hands. It is quick, simple, and can be easily fit into a morning routine, lunch break, or any other time where you have a free five minutes.
Since it is shorter, it does skip over receiving loving kindness for yourself. Although, they do note sending loving kindness to others still brings a sense of peace to the individual.
Also, the video does not visually demonstrate the meditation, it just verbally walks you through it. Onscreen, there are clips featuring rolling hills, peaceful lakes, and fall trees. All of them are very peaceful and serene, which is helpful for getting into the right mindset for the loving kindness meditation.
Concluding Ideas on the Loving Kindness Meditation
As you can see, those few minutes it takes each day to practice loving kindness meditation can really pay off in the long run! Everyone can benefit from a happier, less stressful life with stronger personal relationships.
Do not get discouraged if it seems like you are not getting anything out of the loving kindness meditation. If you are new, it may take some time to get into the flow of things and notice a difference. Continue learning because there are benefits of a lifestyle of lifelong learning. Like everything, it takes practice.
If you have been doing it for a while and still do not notice any differences, maybe you are missing a step. Or misunderstanding part of what you learned. If this is the case, then the YouTube videos are a great way to get reset onto the right track!
Maybe you have fallen in love with loving kindness meditation and want to start teaching it to other people. If so, you’ll want to meditation coach training to help get you started on this new journey.