How many of you have seen Buddhist monks (or any spiritual leaders for that matter) and wondered what must be the secret of their calmness and the glow on their faces?
Yes, you guessed it right. It is mostly the time they spend meditating and the fact that they have developed a healthy lifestyle. Practicing the teachings of their religion also plays a major role.
Speaking of meditation, do you know which type of meditation is popular among Buddhist monks?
It is the Loving Kindness Meditation. Also known as “metta meditation.”
Metta is a Pali word that connotes friendship, kindness, and affection.
What makes this meditation so special is that, unlike other meditations, here you focus on cultivating positive feelings and emotions towards people around you.
A sample meditation script of this meditation looks like this -
Sit somewhere comfortable with your back straight. Place your hands gently on your lap. Take a deep breath. If you feel comfortable, close your eyes.
Direct loving kindness towards yourself. Repeat the phrases - May I be happy, May I be safe, May I be peaceful, May I be loved. Soak in the feeling with each sentence. Feel the kind wishes with each word.
Now, imagine someone you already love. Bring the image of this person into your mind's eye. Direct loving kindness towards this person. Repeat the phrases softly, May you be happy, may you be safe, may you be peaceful, may you be loved. Feel the warmth of love in your heart.
Do you feel good/positive just by reading this?
Because I feel the same.
A research was conducted by Barbara Fredrickson and her colleagues where they conducted group meditation sessions of loving-kindness meditation for people working at a software company in Michigan. They were instructed to meditate for 15 mins a day for around 7 weeks.
The results were surprising! They found that during the meditation, participants experience positive emotions. These positive emotions lasted even after the meditation was over. Participants who followed through for 7 weeks, had a significant increase in the positive emotions they experienced even if they skipped meditation sometimes.
Some interesting findings from research about this meditation are as follows.
Practicing loving kindness meditation leads to -
Decrease in negative emotions - Due to the habit of cultivating kindness and love towards oneself and others, there is a decrease in negative self-talk. It was observed that people were kind to themselves and experienced fewer negative emotions.
Experiencing less pain - In some studies, it was found that practicing loving-kindness meditation reduces the symptoms of pain. This also speeds up the recovery process.
Increase in positive emotions for long term - Those who practiced loving-kindness meditation during the intervention experienced positive emotions even 15 months after the intervention was over.
Sounds interesting, right?
It was found that as compared to other meditations or self-help techniques, this meditation is more effective to cultivate positive relationships and increasing levels of empathy toward strangers.
Try out this meditation technique for yourself!
There are various Youtube videos available that you can listen to and practice this meditation. You can also consult a certified meditation practitioner and have guided meditation sessions.
Let us know your experience with this meditation or any other meditation that you have practiced.