Lovingkindness meditation

We have various lovingkindness meditations available in our online store.

The Metta Bhavana, or Development of Lovingkindness, practice is one of the most ancient forms of Buddhist practice, one that has been passed down in an unbroken line for over 2,500 years.

We’re often taught as children that we should love others. Religious teachings say, for example, that we should “love others as ourselves.” But how do we learn to love others? And what happens if we don’t particularly like, never mind love, ourselves? The development of lovingkindness meditation practice is the practical means by which we learn to cultivate love for ourselves and others.

The practice helps us to actively cultivate positive emotional states towards ourselves and others, so that we become more patient, kind, accepting, and compassionate.

It’s part of a series of four practices which lead to the arising of:

  • lovingkindness
  • compassion (empathizing with others’ suffering)
  • empathetic joy (rejoicing in others’ wellbeing and joy)
  • and equanimity (patient acceptance of both joy and suffering, both our own and others’).

The metta bhavana is the foundation practice for this series of meditations.

The practice, leading as it does to the realization of compassion, is central to Buddhism, to the extent that the Dalai Lama has said “My religion is kindness.” While this statement may appear almost platitudinous, it’s actually indicative of something profound about spiritual practice.

How to get started

  1. Read our introduction to lovingkindness
  2. Learn techniques for cultivating lovingkindness
  3. Start cultivating lovingkindness

Much of our unhappiness comes from the desire to be happy at the expense of others. It’s really very ironic that in grasping after happiness in this way we end up causing ourselves pain. It’s like sticking your hand into what you think is a cool stream in order to find relief on a hot day, only to discover that the water is boiling.

Buddhist theory teaches, and practice demonstrates, that happiness comes from empathizing with others and from seeing their wellbeing and their suffering as being important as our own.

It’s not that we set aside our own needs entirely and become martyrs in the popular sense of the word, but that we recognize that one of our needs is to help others meet their own needs. In meeting our need to help others meet their needs we find that we become happier: a layer of self-induced (and selfishness-induced) suffering starts to dissolve.

Realizing this and working it out in our lives through the practice of kindness is a major part of Buddhist practice. In fact we could say, as the Dalai Lama implies, that developing a sense of connectedness with others and overcoming selfishness is the essence of the spiritual path.

135 Comments. Leave new

Hi Kavitha,

As far as I’m aware there are no “magical” means for reuniting separated lovers. The people have to want to be together, and have the means to be together, and take action to be together. Those are the things you should pay attention to.

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28 Day Challenge: Day 9 | The Buddhist Mama
July 14, 2010 7:59 am

[…] nice long meditation. First I listened to the Great Bell Chant and Morning Meditation. Then I did a Loving Kindness meditation. You are supposed to do this first for yourself then for 4 other people. I did mine for Sean […]

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Kavitha, all things change. Nothing last but a second in time. These kinds of attachments keep one from traveling the path.

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Art of Dharma - Buddhism, Compassion, Yoga, and Dharma Teachings – A Step-by-Step Guide to Loving Kindness Meditation
August 30, 2010 3:20 pm

[…] from Wildmind Guide to […]

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I am inspired by your site – I’ve been here five minutes and have already discovered a few things about myself just by reading the posts here. I am lucky to have stumbled across you and thanks for such warm and sincere contributions.

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That’s lovely to hear. I’m pleased our site is helping people.

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I’ve started meditating again after a long while, and have found (as i did the last time) an emotional flatness where i feel calm to the point of detachment – is this normal ? Would lovingkindness meditation help with this slightly disconcerting coldness ?

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Hi Shaun,

It can be hard to know what someone means by “detachment.” It can point to a healthy ability to stand back from one’s experience in a calm way, or it can point to a less healthy inability to engage fully with life and with other people. Assuming you mean something like the latter, then lovingkindness meditation would certainly help, as would bringing elements of lovingkindness meditation into your mindfulness practice by remembering to appreciate your experience rather than just observing it.

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Dear Sue
I just wanted to comment on what you said about learning that thinking and trying too hard make things worse. This is very true. I have had a lot of trouble with this myself recently and was helped a lot by listening to Eckhart Tolle’s audio cd ‘Living a life of inner peace’ in which he says that 98% of our thoughts are repetitions of others and get us nowhere. He says very clearly that we need to dwell in the present moment, and out of that, ‘right action comes’. Thinking gets us nowhere but just takes us round and round in circles !

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Hi Bodhipaksa

Thank you so much for your wonderful website which has “enlightened ” me a great deal. But nevertheless I do struggle with with finding metta towards people that I experience difficulty with. In this section of the Metta Bhavana I often work with my current negative feelings towards local youths who are currently terrorising the local community. For a few fleeting seconds I may make an assumption that in some way they are suffering (hence the anti-social behaviour-perhaps based on envy). Then it comes into mind that Buddhism teaches us that we all have free-will and that therefore these kids make a choice to behave as they do and could therefore choose not to behave as they do. So why bother finding empathy or sympathy for those with free will?
I would be most grateful if you could clarify for me. I sense that there is a way to find legitimacy in the fourth stage but I just need some guidance to find it.

Thank you.

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Hi, Keith.

As far as I’m aware, there is no term for “free will” in Buddhism. Certainly Buddhist teachings recognize that we are able to make choices, but our ability to make choices is not “free,” but is subject to conditions. I can’t just decide, for example, that since I have free will I will choose to be perfectly happy for the rest of my life, or that I will never be angry again, or even that I will stop being in a bad mood once such a mood has arisen.

My ability to make choices is constrained in many ways, because of the conditioned nature of the mind. I don’t dispute that in theory the young people who are disrupting your community have the ability to change, but in practice it can be far more difficult. What values have they been taught by their parents and wider society? Have they been taught the value of empathy from an early age? Have they been expected, from an early age, to be polite and considerate? And if these things haven’t happened, how easy is it for them even to consider changing? Add in the fears around peer pressure (if you don’t do what your friends are doing you may be ostracized) and it may be very hard indeed for them to change.

I’m not saying this to excuse them. But it’s worth considering that if we had had their genes (those make a difference), their conditioning, their early experiences, and their social pressures, we might well have ended up acting in the same ways.

In terms of their suffering, I don’t think it’s hard to imagine how unrestrained behavior leads to pain. Some of these people may be fortunate and mature out of their atrocious behavior before they attract the attention of the law, but some of them may well end up in prison. People in prisons (despite what you may read in certain tabloids) are not generally very happy. I’ve taught in prisons for years, and they’re full of conflicted, confused, and frightened people.

Ultimately, when you’re wishing a person like this well, you’re wishing that they become more fully human, that they learn to take responsibility for themselves and learn to empathize with others. That’s what it takes to be well, to be happy, and to be free from suffering. Punitive rage, wich is what often arises when faced with this situation, doesn’t generally help anyone.

Anyway, I’ll leave if there since I find myself on the verge of a commentary on penal policy. I hope this helps in some way. I sympathize with the anxiety and anger your community is experiencing.

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Hi Bodhipaksa,
Thank you for kindly clarifying what should be a good attitude to adopt in the fourth stage of the Metta Bhavana. Everything you say makes sense and I will now hopefully approach the practice more effectively.

Best wishes, Keith

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Elaine Wright
June 27, 2011 2:54 am

Hello

for as long as I can remember I have had problems with writing getting things out of my head on to paper. At school I was in the loest grade classes unable to partisipate. It was as if I was not there, I was unable to engage. My parents had their own problems and gave up on me unable to talk to any one for years I lived in my head. I still have this problem of not being able to formulate my words and get them on to paper. I realise that when it comes to wrtting every thing in my mind seems to shut down and I feel fearful. I have looked at this and I am probably fearful of not being able to get it right. I meditate and use minfulness in my day to day life and this has helped me a lot but I am still unable to put my thoughts on paper in a meaninful way they come out randomly and I have to spend hours trying to organise them to make sence. I have looked at affect regulation and realise I probably have problems with regulating my fight flight mode. any sugestions.

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Hi, Elaine.

There are books that teach you how to write without engaging your “inner critic.” On is “Wild Mind” by Natalie Goldberg. She explains how there are two components to writing — creation and editing — and how if you allow your inner editor to comment on what you’re writing the creative part of you never gets going. She employs the practice of timed writing where you cannot go back and edit and you have to keep writing whatever is in your head. This technique disengages the inner critic and gives your creative side an opportunity to express itself.

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CAT Food » Blog Archive » A Necessary Failure?
August 24, 2011 11:38 am

[…] needs and capacities, I decided to conduct a loving-kindness meditation. Also known as Metta Bhavana, this is an ancient practice from the Buddhist tradition. I modified the typical practice to focus […]

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Hi all –

Somebody I immensely love, treasure and cherish, who also cherished me in countless ways and was my best friend, confidante and soulmate now detests me. The only point of difference between us is that my love for them was romantic in nature in addition to everything else, and their’s was not they said – but for a long time we knew this both of us. But following a huge breakdown on their part one day they absolutely detest me. They have cordoned me out of their lives. They treasured and cherished me very much and did a huge amount for me.

i am stumbling, fragile, helpless and lost. The loss of such a great presence in my life can be handled – but the sheer awareness that I am so toxic to them is debilitating me. I feel such guilt that my presence in their lives caused them such pressure.

Is there anything I can do to transform the situation, even if just for myself?

Thanks.

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Hi,

I have been doing mindfulness of breathing every day for about two weeks now. I have felt great benefit from it.

I have only practiced lovingkindness meditation once or twice, largely, I think, because of time constraints.

Would you recommend alternating sessions of mindfulness and lovingkindness each day, or instead to add lovingkindness onto mindfulness of breathing meditations?

I just worry if i add lovinkindness to my usual breathing meditation I will not be sufficiently focussed on either.

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Hi, Paul.

I would recommend doing mindfulness of breathing and metta bhavana on alternate days. They complement each other, and without doing both there’s something missing in our practice. Certainly, you won’t be focusing on each practice in the same way you would if you were only doing one of them, but if while walking you decided to use one leg, you wouldn’t move as effectively as if you decided to alternate your focus and use both :)

All the best,
Bodhipaksa

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love the post- and the website, I’m going to bookmark it! Thankfully a Google search led me to find you, and am so glad I did. I am by no means a Buddhist master but I do practice regularly. Lovingkindness has been one of the most helpful forms of meditation for me, so I hope your readers take advantage of the wonderful wisdom you are sharing. I wrote a little about lovingkindness from my perspective, including how it benefited me and some specific instruction on how to practice it. In case you’re interested here it is :http://mariewetmore.com/2012/01/25/loving-kindness-meditation-be-happier-kinder-and-more-compassionate/
I look forward to reading more of your posts !

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Religion for Atheists
January 31, 2012 11:36 am

[…] the ‘skilful intentions’ that can be strengthened by meditation practices such as the metta bhavana, we can really start to look at what life – and existence itself – is really about. And […]

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“Sabbe satta bavanthu sukithaththa” is the meththa bavana in a nutshell.
Mean, May all beibgs attain happiness and be free from suffering.

Why do we mark a limit for compassion? Myself, relations, human, animals all can feel the pain. so, we can wish the freedom from both mental and physical forms. That purifies the mind of myself, removing all thoughts on hatred, anger and revange etc.. Start from loving yourself and extend to all living beings with out hanging on blind assumptions(like- Animals are created for our consumption)
May you attain Nibbana soon!!!

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I seem to have a target on my head – a target for bullies, intimidators, rude, mean, nasty people that undermine my very being and imbue me with self-doubt and self-loathing. I am loosing all my self confidence and am too afraid to speak in group situations.
I try to be empathetic and caring towards others but there is always someone who seems to b-line to hurt me.
What meditations can I use to overcome my gear of others, remove self-doubt and reclaim my SELF?

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I’d suggest that you do a lot of self-metta, Lisa, in order to strengthen your self-confidence and your belief that you are a worthy person. It’s great to be empathetic and caring towards others, but this has to be based on inner strength, and not an attempt to win favor or to avoid conflict, which can sometimes happen. There are always going to be bullies, and they tend to look for people who they think are weak in some way. Self-metta may help you to stand up more for yourself, because you’ll learn to recognize that your wellbeing and happiness are as important as those of the people around you.

You may need to become more of a spiritual warrior, and if you’re at all open to mantra practice, Padmasambhava, Vajrapani, and Manjushri all have warrior characteristics.

You might also want to work with a therapist to help you identify blind spots in relation to the way you relate to others. It’s hard to get honesty from people…

Good luck!

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April News - Northstar Martial Arts
March 28, 2012 9:06 pm

[…] differences that drive us apart. The Buddhists have a beautiful meditation called Loving Kindness. http://www.wildmind.org/metta it would be an interesting exercise to see how well we got on with each other if this was part of […]

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Hi Bodhipaksa,
Thank you for having such a great resource. I personally do Loving-Kindness meditation while I walk on the street and do for all sentient beings. I feel as if a great positive energy is leaving my heart area out to people. At the same time I feel good too. In my tradition, I was taught to do Metta Bhavana (Loving-Kindness) after the Anapana Sati or Vipassana or Walking Meditation. I know that it is advised to start with yourself, etc. I started my loving-kindness with Lama Surya Das’ version to all sentient beings and not myself first. It seemed to work for me. So, I skipped the step, but I feel fine just doing to all other sentient beings, or my clients in particular. What are your thoughts on skipping the steps?

In my private massage and energy healing practice, I finish the session with Loving-Kindness meditation and the clients seemed to feel much better. I feel rejuvenated as well.

With loving-kindness,
Spencer, the Urban Monk
My blog article:
http://buddhist-meditation-techniques.com/loving-kindness-meditation/

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Hi, Spencer.

I’d suggest trying out the practice in the traditional way for a few weeks, and seeing how it goes. I’ve never tried doing it without cultivating self-metta first, and so I’ve no first-hand experience of doing it your way, and therefore no first-hand experience of any drawbacks.

If you find there’s resistance to doing in this way, then I’d suggest that that in itself is evidence that there’s something to work with in relation to your self-view and self-metta. Or maybe there will be no resistance and it’ll be a great experience. Either way you win!

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Hi Bodhipaksa,

First off, I am finding your site very helpful. Thank you very much for putting it up and communicating with each of us. I have been switching between the Mindfulness and Loving Kindness mediations for about 2 months now, and am finding it very difficult to sit still. I notice that after a couple of minutes, I feel comfort in putting my hand on my face for some reason. Do you know why this is, and is there any type of advice you can give in which I can get over this?

Thanks again

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Without talking to you more extensively I couldn’t know why you find it hard to sit still. You say you get comfort from putting your hands on your face. Perhaps you’re not giving yourself enough emotional reassurance during meditation and so you’re having to give it physically? I’m just guessing.

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Depression and Meditation « dkagyu
June 25, 2012 4:52 pm

[…] fact the Metta Bhavana (development of lovingkindness) practice is highly recommended for those who experience […]

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I am finding this website so helpful, so thank you! I’m a newcomer to Buddhism so I’m not familiar with all the lingo and terms yet. I am still finding it difficult to cultivate loving kindness towards those who are so hate-filled and degrading to others. I am trying to look deeper, past their hateful words and attitudes, and connect with them, but it honestly angers me to see others treated so viciously.
Thank you for all the helpful information on your site and please keep it up! People like me need easy to understand instruction.

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Why Kindness Matters | Mindfulness in Action: Courses, Coaching and Training
July 17, 2012 7:35 am

[…] if you are interested in learning more about this practice, I recommend the excellent guide on the Wildmind site. It also has links to guided meditation CDs and other resources. Recommend on Facebook […]

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40 Days of Meditation: #Zensperiment | Greatist
September 12, 2012 5:06 pm

[…] or so, I’ll try a different style of meditation, including Zen, mindfulness, Transcendental, and loving kindness. To be honest, I’m not really sure what “meditating” means. The best answer I’ve gotten so […]

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Why Kindness Matters | Mindfulness in Action
February 12, 2013 9:28 am

[…] if you are interested in learning more about this practice, I recommend the excellent guide on the Wildmind site. It also has links to guided meditation CDs and other […]

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Norman MacArthur
February 14, 2013 4:16 pm

This mediation is really powerful and effective although different to the mindfulness of breathing. I’m still practicing the loving kindness, but not so much with mindfulness of breathing for one reason (that I’m still trying to figure out) is that i’m getting very anxious for long periods of time following the practice, almost anxious of being calm and feeling slow (as crazy as it sounds). Should I still be practising mindful breathing and try to gain more awareness of this? Or focus more on the loving kindness? (Basically do I need to do one to successfully do the other)?
Thank You

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Hi, Norman.

I’d suggest that you just keep alternating the two practices. They do mutually inform each other, and the patience and acceptance of the lovingkindness meditations will make it easier for you to accept the calmness. It doesn’t sound at all crazy to feel anxious about being calmer. We get very used to the idea that we have to be thinking, thinking, thinking in order to keep tabs on everything, to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything, etc. It can take time to learn to trust that we don’t need to obsessively ruminate. See if you can smile at the anxiety and tell yourself that it’s OK to feel anxious.

All the best,
Bodhipaksa

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Norman MacArthur
February 14, 2013 6:36 pm

Thanks very much Bodhipaksa. That’s refreshing to know, I’ll keep my focus on both and work with the anxiety as best as I can.

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Hot Pursuit | Fluff and Puffery
February 22, 2013 8:11 pm

[…] I noticed myself clinging to the crap feelings again just recently… I was doing a guided metta meditation, which is where you practice wishing people well, happy, and free from suffering. You […]

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WanderingWonderer
March 8, 2013 2:56 pm

Thank you for your website! I am 49. I purposefully was taught to meditate when I was 19 to control pain, after an accident. Once I “fell through” 3mths after trying to meditate, I realized I had meditated as a child. My father was thrilled by the stories I would tell which led to him trying various religions which caused discord in our home, so I stopped talking to him about it by the time I was 5. At 14, as I passed through a place, I received knowledge that a specific friend was hurt; within 25ft I saw her best friend and told her that Carrie was hurt. I immediately, sat down very confused, crying. The other girl was confused as well. The next morning, Carrie was assisting with unloading a World’s Finest Chocolate truck, located in the place I had the vision, fell from the back of the truck and broke her arm. I did reach out to an ex-Catholic priest. I explained what happened, he asked me what my prayer practices were. I explained the “day dreaming”, he advised me to stop and I did.

Since I started meditating at 19, I go deeply for 2yrs, then “visioning” seems to occur again. So, I stop for awhile. At 41, I had my 3rd child. Two years ago, I read a Richard Rohr book, it made me feel like I wasn’t alone and I started meditating again. I’m at the two year mark and yes, the visioning started again this past summer. I did seek a Spiritual Director, 2mths ago, wanting to engage in the St Ignatius spiritual exercises. I didn’t think the director understood my situation. Now, reading your website; thinking “controlled day dreaming” is part of what I do when meditating. It is like a “star trek holo deck experience”. I can be whereever I want to be and expand the circumstances. Bad experiences in my 20’s have trained me to ignore others that appear while I meditate. I generally dismiss them now and meditate in my created environment, alone.

As I said the visioning during the day walking around came back last summer. So, I don’t meditate more than 20min at a time since then and it has stopped. There is a direct coorelation with meditating and the visions. I will work on the LovingKindness exercises and start again in this environment. After I read your articles, that is why the Spiritual director is claiming I am not ready, I focus too much on drawing out the illusions. I’ll try to focus on dismissing sights and objects.

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Hi,

I like your website and return to it often to get insights on various things in life. I’m an anxious person worrying about what others think/say about me. I started meditating (breathing, loving kindness) on a daily basis and I see that I’m becoming more mindful these days. Though the little things still bother me, I’m happy that I don’t dwell on them for long. I’m in a generally happy state of mind except for one thing. By God’s grace, things are going well in my life but that’s not the case with my sister and mother. They have problems b’cos of their relationship (with their spouses etc.,) and other issues and they are unhappy. Whenever I talk to them/listen to their problems, I feel unhappy too. Though there is nothing I can do to bail them out of their situations (except listen patiently) I still feel helpless. I try to do whatever I can to cheer them up. I would like some suggestions on how to maintain my composure and not worry/be unhappy about their situations. I want to help them, see them happy but I don’t want their unhappiness to affect me adversely.
Thanks

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There’s an old saying, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

It’s worth looking at the expectations you have. You can’t fix other peoples’ relationships. You can’t “cheer them up” to the point where they’re no longer bothered by the difficulties they experience. If you have any such expectation then you’re going to be dragged down when you hit the reality of “the things you cannot change.”

The best thing you can do is to be a compassionate presence, which doesn’t mean wallowing in suffering, but simply caring that the other person is having a hard time, and giving them as much love and kindness as you can — possibly also setting them straight when they’re behaving in ways that are making the situation, or their suffering, worse.

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Why Kindness Matters | Mindfulness in Action
December 20, 2013 4:33 pm

[…] if you are interested in learning more about this practice, I recommend the excellent guide on the Wildmind site. It also has links to guided meditation CDs and other […]

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D is for Difficult Person | Stephanie's blog
February 23, 2014 3:24 pm

[…] With thanks to Jim Pym ‘You don’t have to sit on the floor’ and http://www.wildmind.org/metta/ […]

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zrzuć swe brzemię (2/2) | takość
May 13, 2014 11:49 am

[…] bodhipaksa […]

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zrzuć swe brzemię (1/2) | takość
May 14, 2014 6:18 am

[…] (bodhipaksa) […]

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Dear Bodhipaksa. I have reached an impasse. I have been listening and responding to your CD for10 days now and have found it really helpful to begin with. I cannot “go it alone” and will need spoken guidance for some time to come. However, the sameness of listening to it every day is encouraging my mind to wander. I do think negatively a lot even though I am so conscious of this but have great difficulty controlling my feelings of anger at the way in which I have been treated by a couple of people. I need to move on so badly, particularly as I see these people regularly through my hobby and just don’t want to acknowledge their existence which is childish and not sustainable. So I’ve written here about more than one issue – you can probably detect that my mind is in a muddle and all over the place and I really want to feel calm all the time, not just momentarily. Please can you help?

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Hi, Nottyhorse.

A wandering mind isn’t disastrous. We all have wandering minds — it’s just that some of us have learned to be OK with the fact that our minds wander. And, curiously, being OK with the mind wandering makes it wander less — or being disturbed by the mind wandering makes it wander more.

I’m curious why you say you “can’t go it alone.” What’s preventing you? What do you think would happen if you did?

It gets easier to deal with the feelings of anger. If you keep doing metta practice there will, in the long term, be a reduction in the amount of anger you feel. You may not notice this, but other people will. You’ll start noticing you’re angry and letting go of it. Then you’ll realize that you’re feeling angry but don’t have to express it by acting aggressively. And then later on you’ll find that you have the choice not to be angry. This whole process takes years, but it’s better to spend years working on anger than to spend years just being angry :)

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I’m pretty new to all of this but I like the ideal of making yourself happy. I am a escort and lately I’ve been very aware of how unhappy I am. I came to my pimp to help him and can say ive put him in a decent position in life but its never enough he is constantly unhappy I can do something minor to set him off and then I deal with hate and yelling an constantly being put down. Before I was with him I was confident in myself but now I feel dumb lame. When hes angry I stay quiet and listen. I try to fix things but something always comes up to or I do something wrong and he turns from cold to hot in seconds. Im just to the point were I dont think im helpful or if he so miserable with me why should I stay. Im so confused with life with him. I keep all my feelings inside and sometimes feel as if my head will explode. I want to be a better person I dont want to feel resentment.

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Hi, Renee.

I’m sorry to hear about your situation. It’s not only unpleasant but potentially dangerous to be in the presence of someone who can’t control their anger, or who uses it as a way of manipulating people. I’m concerned for your safety and wellbeing.

Your happiness is a concern for me as well. I’d encourage you to reflect on what is truly good for you in your life in the long term. Your pimp is manipulating you through anger and belittling, because he has a vested interest in you not changing. In the short term you could work on improving your relationship with him, but in the long term I suspect you’d simply be playing his game. If you dare to dream, what does your future look like if you imagine being happy and fulfilled? Are there people you can talk to who are outside your profession? (It’s important that your thoughts about change not get back to your abuser, since he’ll just double up on the belittling and manipulation.)

All the best,
Bodhipaksa

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Hi,

First, thanks for nice informative blog.

My question concerns involuntary body movement during meditation.

This is partilucary during loving kindness meditation and body scanning meditation.

I frequently get these involuntary body movements when I meditate, before it was my torso twitching and turning and now it has moved to my head. It is twitching and turning. Even after the meditation session has ended.

I can twitch and turn a whole day every now and then.

I’m a little bit worried about this and thinking maybe I should have a break from meditation.

What is your advice on this?

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Hi, EuropeanGuy.

I’ve had this happen in the past, when by back would twitch during meditation, or anytime I relaxed deeply. For me it went on for several years, and although it freaked out some other people it never bothered me. I’d suggest just relaxing about the issue.

Eventually I realized that my back was trying to adjust itself, in an attempt to deal with a misaligned vertebra. Going to a good chiropractor and doing some exercises to loosen up that area of my back helped enormously, and eventually the twitching stopped. It’s possible that something similar is going on with you.

Anyway, I don’t think there’s any cause for concern. Perhaps this is just your body’s wisdom expressing itself.

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Hi Bodhipaksa,

I’ve only been doing loving kindness meditation a while,I want to know how do you pick the people you have negative feelings towards? I often can’t think of any though I know I experience plenty of negative feelings towards people,can you pick the same person indefinitely, and if your feelings towards them improve,can you pick someone you don’t know but have negative feelings for?

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Hi, Clare.

You can pick someone you love that you’re just temporarily feeling a bit miffed with. You can choose the same person indefinitely if you tend to have negative feelings toward them. You can call to mind someone you don’t know and have negative feelings towards, but practically speaking you’re best sticking with people you know.

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Ankit Rohidas Malik
November 10, 2014 1:33 pm

Hello Sir,
I am 21 years old now and recently i realised the importance of meditation, how karma affects our character and that what we are is mostly what we think as the thoughts and actions repeated years become part of our sub consious. I was unaware of this things being an Indian which is shameful.
So please tell me how to transform my sub consious mind as many of my thoughts which are deeply embeded in the sub consious mind are not good as I was unaware before what I was heading into. Please do reply.

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Hi, Ankit.

I’m glad you’ve realized that you can shape your own life. The answer to your question is “the Eightfold Path” :)

You might want to start with meditation, though. I’d recommend learning mindfulness of breathing and lovingkindness meditation.

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Hello Sir,
I am a doctor by profession, since last 6 months due to some family issues i had become so disturbed that irritation, angerness, not focusing properly on my studies, and endless thoughts had ruined my day to day life, then i came to know about buddha and its life stories, in buddhahism meditation is given alot of importance. I have also started doing some meditation since last some months, it helping me little bit, what i do is, i try to focus my mind either on my breathing or my heart rhythm during our satsung. During meditation my mind, heart and body become one with oneanother, i dont become aware of time at that time, can u tell me that am i doing meditation in proper way or should i adopt any other procedure? but my this state remain only for 15 to 20 mintues, Can i prolong this state for whole day whenever i do any kind of work? thanks

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Hi, Amresh.

We should certainly be trying to cultivate mindfulness and metta/maitri in our daily activities. Doing so probably won’t lead to exactly the same kinds of experiences you have in meditation, but the point isn’t to live our lives in a state of deep meditation. Rather, it’s to live in a way that benefits ourselves and others.

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Hello everyone and Bodhipaksa,

My name is Maria and I am a chronically ill person, every day there is pain in my body, and through the practice of lovingkindness meditation my life has changed, the way I see, judge and perceive my body, views, attitudes: my past, everyone and everything, all this deepened by the practice of meditation on compassion for myself and for everyone and joy for mine and other people’s achievements. I have not found though a way to follow your online meditations Bodhipaksa and would love to, Will you kindly tell me how I need to proceed, please? thanks bless you all!

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Hi, Maria. I’m glad you’ve been finding meditation useful. I’m not sure what your question means, though. Do you mean that the guided meditations on the site aren’t working for you? If so, can you tell me what happens, for example, when you click on the media player on this page? http://www.wildmind.org/metta/one

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Oh no Bodhipaksa, I am sorry if I didn’t express myself with clarity. I do find them excellent, I find the ones in youtube so useful to maintain my practice of the Bhramma Viharas. It is for that reason that I would like to get to the next level, that is; to know how to follow your ‘online live/skype/interactive’ meditation sessions so I can deepen those practices -and the mindfulness of breathing by sharing them with you and others and create a more settled regularity, however, I don’t know how to proceed to be amongst that group/s! I hope I have now been clear, can you clarify this point for me, please? With metta Maria

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Ah, I see what you mean now. There are a couple of things you could do. We have a community on Google+, where there’s a lot of support and encouragement available. You’d be welcome to join. And also as part of next year’s Year of Going Deeper there will be events for each of the brahma viharas.

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Greetings, Bodhipaksa.
First, let me say what a fantastic site you have here. It has helped me stay motivated enough to make meditation practice a habit and something I look forward to rather than an obligation. And I think in a recent article somewhere here about motivation and trying to have a meditation partner you also said that, lacking a partner, the guided meditations encourage a sense of having a partner. That has helped me, which I guess is why they’re called “guided.”
But actually, my question is this. During metta bhavana, I have trouble focusing on my emotions, in the sense that when I try to open up and feel my present emotions, I usually end up focusing on whatever happens to be the specific cause of those emotions, for example, difficulty in a relationship (and the person who’s the cause of the difficulty), or a specific problem at work. I know that by the fourth stage, I can focus on the person that’s difficult and cultivate metta for them.
The imagery you use in the first stage—imaging a body of water and dropping the phrases into it, like a flower into the water—is great, but then I end up focusing on the water and the flowers and have a hard time using the water as a metaphor for my emotions. If that makes sense.
I’m not even sure there’s a question in there, though I guess it would be “Is this the kind of situation that will gradually fade as I continue?” I hope no one’s asked it before, but there are seven years of questions here and I haven’t read through them all.
Thanks.

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Hi, Jay.

I’m glad you find the site helpful, Jay. What you’re describing is very common. We’d rather be caught up in thoughts than pay attention to our actual experience. This is the practice, though: dropping the story, letting go of those thoughts, and returning to our experience. Over and over. It does get easier with practice, and I don’t think we ever get perfect at it! But that doesn’t matter. We just keep doing it.

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