Guided Metta Meditation

Season One: Episode One

Today’s episode is a guided Metta meditation. The invitation is to find some place secure and quiet where you can sink into your experience. Bring a blanket, a mug of tea, your dog – whatever will help you feel comfortable.


Transcript

Hello and welcome to Crafted Connections, a podcast by Fully Woven. Here you will find a collection of embodied contemplative activities to calm the nervous system and quiet the mind. Activities such as guided meditations, journal writing, creative arts, and gentle mindful movement. 

My name is Monique and I trust and practice these activities to help me live peacefully with chronic illnesses. Their introspective nature is subtle yet profoundly effective at amplifying wisdom. In practicing them with you, I seek to create a space to ease your suffering and where maybe you’ll feel less disconnected.

Today I would like to share with you a guided Metta meditation. Metta, m-e-t-t-a, is a Pali  word and it translates as loving kindness or benevolence or compassion or generosity of spirit. Metta meditation is a Buddhist practice and some of you may be familiar with it already.

Over time and with repetition Metta meditation changes one’s heart and turns it towards compassion. You know that when you’re struggling with shame and fear and anger that it is difficult to summon up some kindness for anyone including yourself. I know that is certainly my experience. 

Compassion can be an elusive thing because sometimes we don’t want to be with somebody in their pain and oftentimes we will ignore our own pain, however compassion calls us to be there and to journey with the pain. To acknowledge it and see it and allow it to be. Compassion calls us to allow pain to run its course unhindered by judgement or criticism. 

Speaking of criticism, if you struggle with a harsh inner critic then the self-compassionate nature of Metta meditation can begin to soothe the harshness and change the narrative. 

Let’s give this guided meditation a try! Here would be a good spot to pause the audio if you’d like to shake out your body in preparation for stillness. Of course you’re always welcome to take your meditation however fits with you – some people prefer to lay down and some like to sit and some prefer to walk around. Although it’s been some months since doing this, I like to listen to guided meditations when I’m swimming. You’ll find what works best for you.

Okay let’s take a few moments of silence here as we transition into meditation.

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Are you comfortable? If not, move around a bit and find that sweet spot where you feel fully supported. Take a long easy inhale and a full soft exhale. Try that again and maybe even sigh on the exhale. And one more time – inhale and exhale. Allow your breath to begin to find it’s own rhythm. See if you can let go of guiding it. 

Let’s start somewhere that’s easy to be. Bring to mind someone with whom you have an uncomplicated relationship. This could be an adult or a child or it could even be a pet. Perhaps a dog or a cat or bird? Or it could be someone who you’ve never met. Bring to your awareness someone who is easy to love and easy to be with. Someone who you feel safe with and someone who makes you feel happy. See this person before you. See them smiling at you and holding you in the highest regard. How does it feel to know this person wants only the best for you? Can you sense it in your body? What feelings and thoughts and sensations arise when thinking of this person? Allow yourself to marinate in this goodness. 

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And could you say to this person: 

May you be free from all inner and outer harm,
May you be filled with ease and happiness,
And may you know the compassion of loving kindness.

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Now bring to mind someone from your inner circle. Someone who you trust and have a close and intimate relationship with. Someone who confides in you. Someone who you know can call upon to celebrate the good times or to howl at the moon when everything starts to boil over. Your ride or die. See this person in front of you. How does it feel to be in their presence. What are your feelings towards them? What does your awareness tell you about their feelings towards you? What is arising?

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And could you say to this person: 

May you be free from all inner and outer harm,
May you be filled with ease and happiness,
And may you know the compassion of loving kindness.

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Now bring to mind someone who is familiar to you but you do not know them by name. This could be someone you see regularly in your neighbourhood. Or maybe at the grocery store? Someone whose face you recognize and they are familiar yet unknown to you. See this person in front of you now. How does it feel to be in their presence? What are you witnessing? Are there any sensations or emotions that you can identify? How does it feel to recognize someone yet not know them?

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And could you say to this person: 

May you be free from all inner and outer harm,
May you be filled with ease and happiness,
And may you know the compassion of loving kindness.

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Now, for a few moments, take your awareness back to the beginning of our meditation and bring to mind the person with whom you have an uncomplicated relationship. Once again, feel how it is to be in the presence of someone who loves you and has your back.

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Now bring to mind someone who you don’t quite understand. Someone who is slightly challenging to be with but not a high-charge relationship. Someone with whom you have a low-key disagreement with. Or perhaps you sense that they don’t understand you. See this person in front of you now. What arises? What sensations begin to make themselves known? What are your thoughts saying? Could you allow your internal experience to happen without added narration or judgement? Notice your breath and see how it’s rhythm plays into your awareness.

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And could you say to this person who you don’t quite undertand: 

May you be free from all inner and outer harm,
May you be filled with ease and happiness,
And may you know the compassion of loving kindness.

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And once again, bring to mind the person with whom you have an uncomplicated relationship. Once again, feel how it is to be in the presence of this person.

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Now bring to mind your neighbourhood or anywhere really where many people gather and where you interact with them on a regular basis. In these times of coronavirus with many of us isolating it could be a group of people that you see online regularly. You might not know everyone’s name or everyone’s story but these people are known to you and part of your community. Notice how it is to be in the company of others. And again with a nod towards coronavirus – how is it to be with a group of people? Remember this is visualization and you are not actually amidst a group of many. Notice the support beneath you and feel your breath as it moves in and out of your body. If you begin to feel nervous or anxious consider opening your eyes and orientating yourself to your surroundings. Place your palms together and feel your substance. You are here and it is now.

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And now coming back to our compassionate inquiry. See a group of people with you. See their faces. How does it feel to be in the company of others? What arises? What do you witness?

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And could you say to these people: 

May you be free from all inner and outer harm,
May you be filled with ease and happiness,
And may you know the compassion of loving kindness.

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And now bring to mind all beings everywhere. This can be nigh on impossible to conceptualize and some hold the image of our blue earth floating in space in their mind. However you see all being everywhere is your expression and will work for you. Trust yourself. What arises for you when you see all beings everywhere? What do you feel and where do you feel? Does your imagery change and shift? And your vision may be blank. That’s something to notice. It’s neither good nor bad it is just blank. Notice some of your stories around blank.

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And could you say to all beings everywhere: 

May you be free from all inner and outer harm,
May you be filled with ease and happiness,
And may you know the compassion of loving kindness.

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Okay, now call your awareness home. To yourself. See yourself in front of you. Maybe you’re looking in a mirror. Maybe you’re as you are today or perhaps you’re a younger or older version of yourself. However it is, see yourself and notice how it is to be in your own presence. What arises? What’s here. What wants to be seen.

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And could you say to yourself: 

May you be free from all inner and outer harm,
May you be filled with ease and happiness,
And may you know the compassion of loving kindness.

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Begin to notice the rhythm of your breath once more. Follow its path from inhale thru exhale. Where does the inhale travel to? What parts of your body respond to your inhale? And on the exhale – what parts respond? 

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Begin to wiggle your toes and fingers. Nod yes and no. Maybe shrug your shoulder and shake out your arms. If it feels right to do so, then come into a different posture and we’ll close our meditation together.

Draw your palms together and place your thumbs on your sternum, bow your head towards your heart. Take a moment to honour and recognize the seed of compassion you planted today. May they take root and blossom. May the pollinators spread more Metta all around the world. And until next time, peace be with you dear one.