A Few Thoughts on Compassion & Lovingkindness Meditation

Lovingkindness is the desire that all beings be happy. Compassion is the desire that all beings are free from suffering – including yourself. “Metta Meditation” – the practice of compassion and lovingkindness – is an opportunity to recognize that all humans desire the same things – to be happy and free of suffering.

This is not a “fake it till you make it practice,” but rather an opportunity for you to feel more connected to yourself and others, and to explore your relationship with neutral and difficult people in your life.

In Asian languages, the word for ‘mind’ and the word for ‘heart’ are same. So if you’re not hearing mindfulness in some deep way as heartfulness, you’re not really understanding it. Compassion and kindness towards oneself are intrinsically woven into it. You could think of mindfulness as wise and affectionate attention. -Jon Kabat-Zinn

Sometimes we think that to develop an open heart, to be truly loving and compassionate, means that we need to be passive, to allow others to abuse us, to smile and let anyone do what they want with us. Yet this is not what is meant by compassion. Quite the contrary. Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world. Compassion allows us to bear witness to that suffering, whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear; it allows us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act strongly, with all the skill at our disposal. To develop this mind state of compassion…is to learn to live, as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living beings, without exception. -Sharon Salzberg

Sources:

Mindfulness & Grief: With Guided Meditations to Calm Your Mind & Restore Your Spirit. Heather Stang.

Lovingkindness. Sharon Salzberg

Guided Lovingkindness & Compassion Meditation

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