How Metta Works and Why You Should Try It

Have you ever been hurt by someone? If you live in the same world I do, chances are you have–and probably more than once. Because we are all human, and we have the ability to choose, we will eventually end up being hurt by someone else’s choices–or even our own. After my last relationship ended, I realized that I had a lot of anger and hurt that wouldn’t seem to go away–even after months of trying to forget and let everything that happened go. A part of that has to do with allowing the grieving process to work, which unfortunately requires time. But another thing that I have found to help has been the practice of Metta.

Metta is a type of meditation that comes from Buddhism. The word, “metta” means, “positive energy and kindness toward others.” If you’ve learned about Buddha at all, it makes sense they this practice would derive from his teachings. Buddhism focuses a lot on letting go and finding insight on the true nature of life. And because letting go was something I found myself needing to do, I decided to give this practice a try: and here’s why you should too!

I know a lot of people who say, “Oh, meditation just isn’t my thing” or “I’m not good at just sitting there, so it’s not for me.” And while I completely understand the hesitation, this form of meditation was actually a lot easier than ones I have tried in the past, so maybe it will be for you too! Instead of trying to keep your mind clear of any thoughts, you are actually going to be repeating a few phrases in your head and focusing on your thoughts and feelings throughout the session. So with that in mind, why not give it a try?

In order to do Metta Meditation, you should be in a relaxed place where your environment won’t distract you. I have found it helpful to sit cross-legged, in a comfortable position with my back and shoulders upright and stretched out. I then close my eyes and begin focusing on my breathing. After taking a few breaths in and out, I then think of myself and begin repeating these four phrases in my mind: “May you be joyful. May you be healthy. May you be at ease and safe. May you be loved.” It’s important to say them with as much meaning and real intent as you can. The more you do this, the more open and loving you will become with yourself.

While this first one alone helped me to begin feeling better, it was actually just the beginning. After repeating those phrases to yourself a few times, you then move on to thinking of someone you admire and care about in your life. After repeating those phrases with them, you move on to someone who you don’t know very well or haven’t formed a strong opinion of yet. You then move on to someone who you have had conflict with or who you dislike. Move through the phrases with that person in mind–trying to be as genuine as you can. After this, you move on to the world as a whole–repeating those phrases and reflecting on the thoughts and feelings that come. Stay there for a while and recognize what this brings up in your body.

These last two are where the real healing started for me. Being able to really think about those phrases with real intent for this person I had come to dislike helped me to heal and get over my anger. It allowed me to refocus on myself and the good energy that is still in the world. Through doing this exercise, I was reminded of how important forgiveness is–not only for others, but mostly for the peace it can bring ourselves. Just as Buddha said, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

If we are constantly holding on to anger, we are the ones hurting from it–not the person we are mad at. I hope you all find some peace in trying this form of meditation. Let me know how it goes either in the comments below or by contacting me through my contact page. Thanks for reading!

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