Loving-Kindness Meditation: Guided Meditations and Scripts
What is loving-kindness meditation? Learn about a variety of loving-kindness meditations and try them out here.
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Have you heard about loving-kindness meditation but you're not sure what it is or how to do it? Or, do you want to try some different kinds of loving-kindness meditation? In this article, we'll talk a bit about the research behind this type of meditation and share with you the most popular loving-kindness mediations available free on the Internet.
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What Is Loving Kindness Meditation? (A Definition)
Loving-kindness meditation (also sometimes called Metta meditation) is a type of Buddhist meditation that can help you cultivate unconditional kind attitudes toward yourself and others. It involves repeating (out loud or in your head) phrases, such as “may you be happy” or “may you be free from suffering” toward specific others and sometimes yourself. Sometimes, loving-kindness meditation also involves visualizing positive energy or light directed towards these individuals (Zeng et al., 2015).
Benefits of Loving Kindness Meditation
It's thought that loving-kindness meditation helps us cultivate four positive attitudes. These attitudes are:
In addition to these attitudes (or perhaps because of them), loving-kindness meditation has also been shown to have a variety of positive impacts on well-being. Loving-kindness meditation is especially well-known for increasing positive emotions (Zeng et al., 2015), but it also has been shown to increase feelings of social connection (Hutcherson, Seppala, & Gross, 2008), mindfulness, self-compassion, and even PTSD symptoms (Kearney et al., 2013). Overall, loving-kindness meditation appears to be good for well-being. Plus, it doesn't appear to include negative side effects like the ones that sometimes go along with regular mindfulness meditation (e.g., traumatic memories).
Video: Short Loving-Kindness Meditation
If you've never tried loving-kindness meditation before, you might want to start with a short one. The guided loving-kindness meditation video below is only 5 minutes and can give you a good sense of what loving-kindness meditation is like.
Popular Loving-Kindness Meditations
Now that you have a good sense of what loving-kindness meditation is, we'll show you some of the more popular loving-kindness meditations. These meditations are guided by experts and masters in loving-kindness meditation.
Sharon Salzberg's Loving-Kindness Meditation
Sharon Salzberg is the author of eleven books including:
Her emphasis is on vipassana (insight) and metta (loving-kindness) methods, and she has been leading meditation retreats around the world for over three decades.
Try Sharon Salzberg's 20-minute loving-kindness meditation by watching or listening to the video below.
Video: Sharon Salzberg Loving-Kindness Meditation
Tara Brach's Loving-Kindness Meditation
Tara Brach earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Fielding Institute, with a dissertation exploring meditation as a therapeutic modality in treating addiction. She went on to complete a five-year Buddhist teacher training program at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Tara Brach’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices.
In addition to numerous articles, videos, and hundreds of recorded talks, Tara is the author of the books:
Video: Guided Metta Meditation by Tara Brach with Ambient Music | Loving-Kindness Meditation
Jon Kabat Zinn's Loving-Kindness Meditation
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. is internationally known for his work as a scientist, writer, and meditation teacher engaged in bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of medicine and society. He is the author of two best-selling books and several others:
Video: Jon Kabat-Zinn's Heartscape Loving-Kindness
Kristin Neff's Loving-Kindness Meditation
Kristin Neff received her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. Kristin is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research. In addition to writing numerous academic articles and book chapters on the topic, she is the author of the books:
Video: Loving Kindness Meditation by Kristin Neff
Buddhist Loving-Kindness Meditation
If you're looking for a version of a metta (or loving-kindness) meditation that is delivered by someone more immersed with Buddhist tradition, check out the video below from the London Buddhist Center. They also describe a bit more of the background behind loving-kindness meditation from a Buddhist perspective.
Video: Learn the Metta Bhavana (Loving-Kindness) Meditation
Loving-Kindness Meditation for Kids
Want to share this practice with some youngsters? Here is a loving-kindness mediation for kids. It's a bit gentler and uses words that are more easily understandable to children.
Loving Kindness Meditation for Kids | Guided Meditation for Children
Loving-Kindness Meditation Audio
We've just covered some of the best loving-kindness meditations available online. If you'd prefer audio to video, here's an audio version of a loving-kindness meditation.
Loving-Kindness Meditation Scripts
If you are in need of loving-kindness meditation scripts, here are some downloadable loving-kindness meditation script PDFs from reputable websites:
More Articles Related to Loving-Kindness Meditation
Want to learn about other strategies, like loving-kindness meditation, that can boost positive emotions and well-being? Here are a few more articles to check out.
Books on Loving-Kindness Meditation
Want even more insights on loving-kindness? Here are some books to explore:
As you now see, loving-kindness meditation is a relatively easy and fun way to boost positive emotions and well-being. A short meditation can fit in a spare five minutes you have while riding the bus, or you could listen to a longer meditation at bedtime to go to sleep. If it seems like a good fit to you, then try to make the time for loving-kindness meditation, as it can have many benefits.