A Meditation to Cultivate Loving Kindness and Compassion

(photo: courtesy of Pavlov Gallery)

Have you been carrying negative thoughts towards someone in your life and want to release them? Would you like to simply be kinder to yourself and others, but are just not sure how to start?

When we want to bring more loving kindness and compassion into our lives, we can begin by incorporating a gentle Loving Kindness and Compassion Meditation into our daily routine. It doesn’t take much time, but it can have a very powerful impact on how we feel about ourselves and those around us and can help with our overall outlook on life.

To begin, find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted or disturbed. Take cleansing breaths and find in your body where you feel LOVE and imagine opening that space to allow more love in. Use your visualization to imagine what that would look like, and focus on how that space feels in your body.

For today, I make time to send loving kindness to myself and to those around me so that I contribute positive energy to the Universe unconditionally. ~mantra

Research has shown that this type of meditation, known as “metta” meditation, garners cultivation of benevolence, kindness and goodwill towards others, thereby increasing people’s experiences of positive emotions and enabling paths of positive growth. Metta meditation helps in warding off depression and negative energy that can lead to lack of confidence, self-worth and acceptance. I am hopeful that after beginning the simple but powerful daily metta practice, as I have outlined here, that over time you may enjoy more peace within yourself and within your perceptions of the outside world.

“Metta” is a Pali word derived from the Indian subcontinent, essentially holding a meaning of a self-less sense of benevolence and compassion for others. Metta-Bhavana is a meditation on Universal Love, set forth in the main meditation texts of the Theravada Buddhist tradition.

Here’s How to Practice Metta Meditation
Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, and imagine what you wish for your life. Think of your desires and put them into three or four phrases. (See example below).  Use your mindfulness to be in the moment and gently breathe through your belly. (Breathe in- belly fills with air and goes out; breathe out- belly empties and goes in.)

Loving kindness meditation is a simple repetition of positive phrases that are first directed towards yourself, then to those who are in your life in different capacities, and finally to the people in the world.  This traditional series to begins with this example:  

“May ___ be happy. May ___ be filled with ease. May ___ be healthy and strong. May ___ be peaceful.” 

1. Start by directing the phrases towards YOURSELF:
May I be happy. May I be filled with ease. May I be healthy and strong. May I be peaceful”

2. Next, direct the metta towards someone you feel thankful for or someone who has helped you. 
May ____ be happy. May ____ be filled with ease. May  ____ be healthy and strong. My ____ be peaceful.”

3. Now visualize someone you feel neutral about, someone you neither like nor dislike. This one can be harder than you think:
May (the grocery store clerk) be happy. May (the grocery store clerk) be filled with ease. May (the grocery store clerk) be healthy and strong. My (the grocery store clerk) be peaceful.” (I use the grocery store clerk as an example only)

4.The next one can be easier. Visualize the person you may have ill feelings towards or have a difficult time with, even if that person resides in your past.
May _____ be happy. May ______ be filled with ease. May _______ be healthy and strong. May ________ be peaceful”

5. Finally, direct the metta towards everyone in the universe.
May all beings everywhere be happy. May all beings be filled with ease. May all beings be healthy and strong. May all beings be peaceful”

Meta Meditation, or Loving Kindness Meditation, may seem simple in process, but can be extremely powerful. Give it a try! Open your heart and mind to more love, kindness and compassion towards yourself and others, and you might just find that sending this positive energy into the world just might cultivate more love and compassion in your life and in the world.


Jo Pessin of A Thoughtful Way and contributing writer to LaLaScoop's "calm"
Jo Pessin of A Thoughtful Way and contributing writer to LaLaScoop’s “calm”

Jo Pessin, A Thoughtful Way
Almost 30 years ago Jo came to out to Los Angeles to study Psychology at UCLA and fell in love with the excitement of all that LA has to offer: its arts, spiritual communities, shops, restaurants and most of all, its colorful array of amazing people. She rooted down and  has never left. Today, as a mother of two beautiful children, she is inspired to bring calm and thoughtfulness to their busy lives through meditation and visualization. It is from this that a life-long journey to pursue the calling of healing and spreading joy has ensued.

Through her private practice, A Thoughtful Way, she serves as a Hypnotherapist, Therapeutic Guided Imagery Facilitator, educator and speaker, helping many adults, teens and children maneuver through their journeys with peaceful, life changing self -explorations. In addition, as a hypnotherapist at weSPARK, an amazing cancer support center in Sherman Oaks, she gives her nurturing guidance to those touched by cancer.

In an attempt to do her part for Tikkun Olam, making the world a better place, Jo’s heart is always open to giving her time and expertise to help others connect with their inner calm, strength and beauty.


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