Metta Meditation recordings

Metta Meditations are foundational mindfulness practices that help us to develop self-compassion, and hence greater compassion for others. They are sometimes called “Loving Kindness” or “Love” Meditations.

Self-compassion enables us to look at ourselves with less self-judgement, more kindness, and more care. This softening of our inner critic enables us to see and understand ourselves more clearly, to soften towards ourselves, and therefore become more open to new ways of thinking and acting that can transform our unhappiness.

Metta meditations also help us to become more compassionate towards other people, by the self-compassion spilling over into a deeper understanding and therefore compassion towards others.

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This is a gentle introduction to Metta Meditation. We begin by wishing ourselves calm, peaceful, safe & happy, then send those same good wishes to someone we feel positive about, then someone we feel neutral about, then someone who we find “mildly irritating” – so not the person who has caused you most distress, which is why this is a good version for those just beginning to practice this kind of meditation. We then gradually broaden out our good wishes to those across the whole world, before finally settling ourselves around our own breathing again.
This 3 steps version of a Metta meditation is inspired by the book ‘Mindful Work: How Meditation is Changing Business from the inside Out’ by David Gelles. In it he describes participating in an experiment by neuroscientist Judson Brewer at Yale Child Study Center, where using this version of Metta was shown to quieten the posterior cingulate cortex – an area of the brain that activates when we are judging ourselves, dwelling on the past or telling ourselves stories about our own lives to the point where we don’t notice what is going on around us.

The 3 steps are sending good wishes to yourself, to everyone you know (in the experiment this was just to everyone in the room, but you may not have anyone with you so I have taken the liberty of changing this), and then out to all sentient beings (beings that can perceive or feel things).

The experiment shows that starting by wishing ourselves well but then, crucially, opening out our awareness to include others in those good wishes, makes us feel happier and less caught in our own thinking.
This Metta meditation was recorded when I was leading a Be Calm, Be Happy mindfulness course on behalf of Plum Village UK. Please click here to discover more about the course, and about the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

I particularly like one of the lines in this meditation: “May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love” ~ for some of us, learning to turn towards ourself with kindness is one of the greatest gifts that mindfulness can offer.