Special lovingkindness meditations

leavesFrom time to time we’ve posted special versions of the lovingkindness meditation, the metta bhavana, in response to important world events.

Principally, we recorded a special meditation in response to the events of 9/11 and another in response to the invasion of Afghanistan.

The metta bhavana meditation (and the related practices of cultivating compassion, joy, and equanimity) is highly flexible because it embodies spiritual principles that can be applied in many situations.

The meditations offered here are themselves flexible. The 9/11 meditation can be used to help us cope with the aftermath of any disaster — natural or man-made — and the Meditation In Time of War can be used to help us explore and deal with the emotions that arise during any time of armed conflict.

We’d like to create more of these special meditations in the future. Time is always limited and there are always many things that need to be done, so we make no promises!

At the same time, if you would like us to record a special version of the metta bhavana practice, feel free to ask using the comment form below. We always feel motivated to do something when there’s been a direct request.


11 Comments. Leave new

  • Marsha Simms
    July 25, 2007 4:41 pm

    Can you make a recording of loving-kindness or self love chants?

  • Hi Marsha,

    Could you say a bit more about what you have in mind? Sounds interesting.

  • Michael Pickering
    February 18, 2009 2:43 pm

    I have been practicing loving kindness meditation for about the last two weeks and have had a profound sense of happiness and joy present at many points during the day. It seems like there could be nothing better than to spend some time each day wishing good things for what becomes all sentient beings. It feels absolutely brilliant, subtle, and so soothing. All the best.

  • Hi I wanted to thank you for this helpful info and I may not have any questions, as most people have asked them
    And I see you have answered every single question.. Good job! Best of wishes to you and anyone reading this.

  • there is so much negativity surrounding myself and my son i need some nice ways to rid our selves of it while Dad finds himself and grows up

  • Hey bodhipaksha,

    I would like to suggest to you a loving kindness audio recording for people who are currently in depression or those types of feelings. I personally am facing this currently, and I am 100% sure there will be many many more who will face it also. This is just a sincere request because I know how it feels like when you don’t know what to do, and are stuck. Some kindness is definitely required at this low point.

    Thank you. :)

  • I have started doing metta recently after my first few attempts were just too exhausting and overwhelming to continue. At that point, my practice was pretty new (maybe 2 or 3 months – almost a year ago :), so at that point, I decided to go back and really just focus on the breath and body scan. That helped me enormously to calm my body down as well as my mind. Now that I have read up on the scientific research about what these practices actually do to change the brain, I understand why going back and focusing on the breath was so helpful for me.

    For those who might be unfamiliar with the science, I’ll give a very quick summary. What I learned was these practices enable our prefrontal cortex make a stronger connection to our limbic system. Basically, these practices help the thinking “executive” part of our brains have a stronger hold on the activities of the reactive”reptile” parts of our brain.

    Recently, I have gone back and worked on developing a metta practice but I was still struggling (although not nearly as much as before). What has helped me recently is the guided metta meditation I found on the website for UCSD’s MBSR course (free download). That particular meditation starts with cultivating metta towards someone you have strong and positive feelings for, and then works through the rest of the sequence EXCEPT that it has you giving metta to yourself at the end of the meditation, rather than the beginning. I completely understand why the traditional practice is to start with yourself, but for myself, I’m finding that its easier to cultivate metta for myself by “piggy-backing” so to speak, on the metta I have generated for others. I do think that soon I will go back and work on the traditional self-first method, but I thought I would mention this for those who might be having similar struggles. If you are looking at this page, you probably have some sense of the benefits that can be gained by developing a strong metta practice, but perhaps like me, you are having serious difficulties with the first step. It might be helpful to try doing metta a little differently, at least at first, to help you start to develop a strong practice. I know this is not exactly traditional, but if it helps you get over that initial roadblock, that is what matters, rather than continuing to struggle and maybe even giving up on it all together because you think you aren’t “capable” of generating positive emotions towards yourself.

    Just something to consider…

    • I’d be interested to hear more about how, specifically, the metta bhavana was exhausting and overwhelming for you. I suspect it may be connected with the last thing you said, which is about lovingkindness involving generating positive emotions. To me, lovingkindness practice isn’t much to do with emotions at all. In fact I find the term “emotion” to be a rather confused category, which is probably why Buddhism, with its attention to psychological detail, doesn’t have a term corresponding to emotion. I’ve written about this elsewhere, so I’ll just link rather than repeating myself.

  • Tenzin Jamyang Jacobs-Hein
    April 5, 2014 1:53 am

    Please do record this meditation. My best friends son lost everything in a fire. I would like meditation to generate merit for people suffering from a crisis beyond their control.

    • Hi, Tenzin.

      The meditation is recorded — see the links in the sidebar.

      All the best,


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