Metta Meditation & New Years

Metta Meditation is a specific meditation practice where you call to mind a person and offer blessings to him or her.  The wording you use and the person you call to mind (which can include yourself) varies.  It is a powerful practice in developing compassion, practicing ahimsa, broadening the scope of your awareness, working on your approach to uplifting or troubling relationships.  At this time of year it can be a tangible way to connect the work you do on your meditation cushion or yoga mat to other people as an offering, as a gift, as a blessing for the new year, or as a personal remembrance of gratefulness.

Here is one traditional metta meditation:

May you be safe and protected.

May you be peaceful and happy.

May you be healthy and strong.

May you have ease of well being.

You can use these, or approach them as inspiration or guidelines to create 3 to 4 similar, short sentences that convey the spirit of what is most alive in you this season.  The key is first in the repetition: that you use the same sentences throughout the practice. Also, as with all yoga practices, it is the intention that determines the end result.

For the practice:

*Allot yourself a certain amount of time, and set a timer

*Decide on your wording before you begin.

*Establish your meditation seat.

*Begin with the individuals in your life who are physically and emotionally closest to you:

~draw her/him into your mind’s eye (be specific, notice a facial detail, a habit of standing, clothing, etc.)

~calmly, deliberately, and with full intention, silently offer the blessing

~see her/him accept this blessing, smile, and turn and walk away

*Continue to broaden your circle of blessings until time runs out

*If you have finished all the people who have meaning in your life before the timer ends, deepen the practice by expanding it to include strangers

*End with yourself last

*Allow yourself time to reside in the space you have created from this meditation before opening your eyes and moving again.

Thank you for your support of the website and my classes.

May you be happy, may you be free from suffering, may you know peace, may you be free.

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3 thoughts on “Metta Meditation & New Years

  1. fourthreichisrael December 30, 2009 / 12:44 am

    Goenka Ji, taught us that the meta meditation goes like this:
    May all being be happy
    May all beings be enlightened

    http://www.dhamma.org/

    • jennifer whitney December 30, 2009 / 9:21 am

      Different teachers and traditions offer varying approaches to the wording, as well the people they are intended for. Some are to specific individuals, for example for people we easily love, people who are difficult to love, and people to whom we are indifferent. Some, as your teacher gave you, are for all beings everywhere (akin to lokah samasta sukinoh bhavantu). I would love to open this posting as a forum for offerings of different traditions and teachings. Thank you for sharing those on behalf of your great teacher.

      • fourthreichisrael December 30, 2009 / 9:44 am

        Yes, that is traditional to vary the mediation/prayer to the individual or group.
        It’s the state of heart that it’s done with that really matters…

        Here is an amazing video of Goenka Ji speaking at the UN:

        I also had a meditation teacher: Kirpal Singh, who taught – Surat Shabd meditation.
        When he died I took up Vipassana since I wanted to have a living teacher for guidance…

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