“Metta is a term that refers to one of the 10 perfections of Buddhism and is the first of the four Buddhist virtues, or “immeasurables.” It can be translated as “benevolence,” “loving,” “friendship” or “kindness.”
Metta means to care and wish well for another being without judging them, to accept them independently of agreeing or disagreeing with them, and without wanting anything from them in return. It is a universal love that can overcome all social, religious, ethnic, political and economic barriers. As a result of metta, one can experience another state of the four Buddhist virtues: joy, a true happiness in another’s happiness” Source: https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/7603/metta
Metta meditation is a “heart practices” in Buddhism, and promotes the cultivation of a kind, gentle, and caring heart. You can think of metta as the simple quality of wishing well for others and yourself. Metta meditation, or loving-kindness meditation, involves the giving of blessings.
In Buddhism, the original phrases come from the Buddha, and there are a number of slightly different versions of the four statements.
This is one of the simplest set of phrases:
May I be safe.
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I live with ease.
Note: You can modify these statements.
While breathing deeply, practitioners open their minds to receiving loving kindness. They then send messages of loving kindness to the world, to specific people, or to their loved ones.
In most forms of this meditation, the key is to repeat the message many times, until the practitioner feels an attitude of loving kindness.
So, once you’ve offered the blessings to yourself, you offer them to others and finally to all beings, saying, “May you…” and “May all beings…” with each phrase.
This meditation helps the practitioner cultivate an attitude of love, kindness, and compassion toward everything, including enemies or sources of stress, as well as one’s own self. This meditation practice helps calm the mind, focus intentions, and slowly open the heart to care for beings. This type of meditation was found to be helpful in for people who suffer from: depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
This type of meditation reminds me of the Hawaiian or Polynesian prayer known was Hoʻoponopono which I will mention later in this post.
Read more on Metta here: https://www.mettainstitute.org/mettameditation.html
Compassion meditation is also a “heart practice”. Compassion meditation aims to alleviate suffering, the objective of Loving-kindness meditation (mentioned above) is to send out unconditional, inclusive love.
Similar to Metta, the practitioner uses phrases to cultivate a mind and heart that can tend to the moments of pain and difficulty with care. You can think of compassion as what happens when loving-kindness comes into contact with suffering.
This is a form of meditation that can help a practitioner cope with difficult or painful situations.
Mudita (Appreciative Joy) Meditation
Mudita is what happens when metta comes into contact with joy and happiness.
This helps you cultivate the ability to rejoice in the happiness of others and open the heart to mindfully enjoy and participate in feeling the happiness or joy in the experiences for others. Instead of judgment, jealousy, or envy or judgment.
This again is done through the repetition of phrases and focused attention. As with other heart meditations, you may not always feel loving and kind while doing it. However, you continue to practice, cultivating this intention to open the heart. These techniques that use phrases are not a quick-fix (no kind of meditation is), and it takes time.
Tonglen meditation helps you let go of negative feelings. You breathe in sadness and darkness from the world, offer out your wishes of love and kindness. You recognize ad honor that others are suffering, perhaps in a similar way as you, and you meeting that with our own compassionate care.
This has been modified by some to breathe in well-wishes for yourself, then let go of the unwholesome as you exhale.
Like the above, is a heart practice.
Equanimity refers to mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.
During equanimity meditation, the practitioner remains mindful and present without their emotions being moved out of a balanced state, and where a patient wisdom prevails. Phrases are used to help bring awareness, or set intentions and reminders that he practitioner has the ability to choose how they meet experiences, recognize that we have limited control over others and outside circumstances.
Learn more here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4350240/
This is not a traditional heart practice in Budhism.
Phrases are used to cultivate a mind and heart inclined toward forgiving. This not only entails forgiving others, but also forgiving one’s self.
Learn more here: https://jackkornfield.com/forgiveness-meditation/
Hoʻoponopono Prayer (meditation)
The main objective of Hoʻoponopono is getting to the “zero state, it’s where we have zero limits. No memories. No identity. A mantra is used to reach this “Self-I-Dentity thru Ho’oponopono”. The mantra is: “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.”
This is based on Len’s idea of 100% responsibility, taking responsibility for everyone’s actions, not only for one’s own. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ho%CA%BBoponopono