Sometimes, the best thing to do when you hear a good idea is just to pass it on.
I recently tried a “Metta” meditation, found it enjoyable, and wanted to share its simple but profound structure, as best I can remember. I’m not a regular meditator, nor a Buddhist, nor an expert on loving-kindness, spirituality, or anything of the sort. I know very little about “Metta” meditation or its origins. But even an emotional ordinary joe like me can’t help but observe that the following practice clearly exercises the muscles of compassion, and likely promotes kindness, something the world could greatly benefit from.
Begin by relaxing. by focusing on your breathing, and its everpresent but oft-ignored sensation. If your mind wanders at any time, gently bring it back to this practice, and celebrate that you escaped the momentary distraction and found your way back to concentration. Now, bring an image of a close friend or loved one into your mind. Notice what you feel. Maintain an open, curious, non-judgemental frame of mind. Not resisting, just allowing the experience to be as it is. With this image in your mind, send them well-wishes: May you be safe and protected, from inner and outer harm. May your heart be filled with happiness. May your mind be clear and peaceful. May you be healthy, physically strong, and vital. May you live life with ease. May you meet each moment just as it is, with wonder and joy. May your actions be wise, and kind. May you be free from suffering. Once again, notice what you feel: the thoughts that arise, the feelings of love, the quality of the mind. Now repeat this exercise thrice more, bringing to mind an image of someone you are ambivilent about, bringing to mind an image of yourself as a child, bringing to mind an image of someone you perhaps even hate or detest. Finally, even if all this did very little other than change your feelings point of view, let us imagine that this practice, however small, has been a small practice for the healing of suffering, for all beings, everywhere. May all beings be at peace. May all beings be free from suffering.