Brief Loving-kindness (Metta) Instructions
As instructed by Ven. Bhante Vimalaramsi (for more detailed instructions see our longer guidebooks)
Remember a time when you were happy — when you felt a warm, glowing feeling of loving-kindness, contentment or happiness. Perhaps you were holding a baby and looking into its eyes, and you felt this radiant feeling of loving-kindness in your heart. Or perhaps a puppy or a kitten…
Take that feeling and radiate it to yourself. Help it along with phrases like “May I be happy,” “May I be content,” “May I be peaceful,” or whatever wholesome feeling arises. Sit for 30 minutes minimum and do not move – no twitching, no moving at all. You can swallow and make slight adjustments if absolutely necessary.
This is a smiling meditation. Put a little Buddha smile on your lips and feel that. Not only smile with your mouth but also from your eyes and from your mind. Smile for the whole sitting. When you lose your smile, you have likely lost that warm feeling, so Re-smile and feel that smile again, and again. Radiate this feeling to yourself for the first 10 minutes of the sitting.
For the next 20 minutes of the sitting (or balance thereof) pick out a Spiritual Friend. This is someone you like and respect, they are the same sex, and they are alive. You like them. They will be your meditation home object for the rest of the session.
For the balance of the session send loving-kindness to this Spiritual Friend. Smile! Put them in your heart and radiate this warm, glowing feeling of loving-kindness to them using appropriate phrases like “May John/Mary be happy”; “Just as I feel this warm loving-kindness, may they feel this feeling themselves;” “May they be safe/content/peaceful.”
Now - your mind is going to wander away. At first, you might only be on the meditation object for 5 seconds or, at most, a minute. The hindrances of sensual desire, aversion, doubt, restlessness or sloth and torpor will come to distract your mind away from radiating that happy feeling to your Friend.
6R the stories and thoughts and disturbances/distractions that arise. 6R the mind that starts to go off and think, and spin more stories.
So, what are the 6Rs?
1.Recognize you were taken away from your object of the feeling of Loving-kindness,
2.Release your attention to those thoughts-just stop thinking them right there,
3.Relax any tension and tightness that is left, and that keeps pulling you back to thinking those thoughts or beating yourself up for having them. Just relax, especially the head!
4.Re-Smile: put that smile back on your lips, eyes, and mind,
5.Return to the feeling of loving-kindness, and stay with that until the next distraction arises.
6.Repeat - Stay with loving-kindness and your Spiritual Friend. 6R as you get distracted.
Your goal is to stay with your spiritual friend for as long as you can. Do not push or try too hard, just do it. Pretend you are on vacation and are just relaxing comfortably, without a care in the world. Share this contentment with your Friend and smile. Don’t push – just like when you hold a baby you don’t try to feel love – you just do it.
Pick out a place to walk that is quiet and away from disturbances. Stroll at a moderate pace and don’t look around. Radiate loving-kindness to your spiritual friend. Keep them in your heart while you walk and wish them a happy feeling. 6R, whenever there is a distraction. This is the same as sitting meditation except now you are walking.
Listen to the above instructions on Youtube here.