How to Develop Compassion: The 5 Stages of Loving Kindness Meditation

I’d like to share with you the 5 stages of Loving Kindness (Metta) meditation. Practicing these traditional Tibetan Buddhist meditations will help you learn to open your heart and develop your compassion.

    • Stage 1 – Loving Kindness For Yourself
    • Stage 2 – Loving Kindness For a Good Friend
    • Stage 3 – Loving Kindness For a Neutral Person
    • Stage 4 – Loving Kindness For a Difficult Person
    • Stage 5 – Loving Kindness For All Sentient Beings

Relaxation and Preparation  

How to Develop Compassion: The 5 Stages of Loving Kindness Meditation

First, we’ll enter a deep state of relaxation to prepare.

  • Sitting quietly, imagine a gentle shower of golden-white light flowing down over your head and through your body, instantly dissolving negative energy in you and around you.
  • As this golden-white light travels through every cell of your body, allow yourself to let go of the tension and float in this sea of relaxation.
  • A helpful key for deep relaxation is to remember that, rather than trying to relax, simply allow yourself to be relaxed.
  • Just be.
  • Relaxation is your natural state.
  • Continue to allow the golden-white light to wash through the depths of your being, leaving a deeply purified sense of ease, calm, and relief in its wake.
  • Bring your awareness to your heart area, and allow yourself to become centered in your heart.
  • Just be with whatever you are feeling.
  • Allow whatever you are experiencing to be okay.
  • Observe your state without judgment.

Stage 1 – Loving Kindness For Yourself

Adopt a short series of sayings similar to the following: “May I be well.” “May I be happy.” “May I be free from suffering.”

Repeat these or similar statements (whatever resonates with you), speaking from your heart.
 Allow a picture of yourself to form, and simply allow yourself to radiate heartfelt compassion for yourself.

After 5-10 minutes of stage 1, move on to stage 2.

Stage 2 – Loving Kindness For a Good Friend

Adopt a short series of sayings similar to the following: “May [name] be well.” “May [name] be happy.” “May [name] be free from suffering.”

Repeat these or similar statements (again, whatever resonates with you), speaking from your heart. Allow a picture of your friend to form, and simply allow yourself to radiate heartfelt compassion for her or him.

After 5-10 minutes of stage 2, move on to stage 3.

Stage 3 – Loving Kindness For a Neutral Person

Adopt a short series of sayings similar to the following: “May [name] be well.” “May [name] be happy.” “May [name] be free from suffering.”

Repeat these or similar statements (whatever resonates with you), speaking from your heart. Allow a picture of your neutral person to form, and simply allow yourself to radiate heartfelt compassion for him or her.

After 5-10 minutes of stage 3, move on to stage 4.

Stage 4 – Loving Kindness For a Difficult Person 

Adopt a short series of sayings similar to the following: “May [name] be well.” “May [name] be happy.” “May [name] be free from suffering.”

Repeat these or similar statements (whatever resonates with you), speaking from your heart. Allow a picture of your difficult person to form, and simply allow yourself to radiate heartfelt compassion for him or her.

After 5-10 minutes of stage 4, move on to stage 5.

Stage 5– Loving Kindness For All Sentient Beings

How to Develop Compassion: The 5 Stages of Loving Kindness Meditation
Adopt a short series of sayings similar to the following: “May all sentient beings be well.” “May all sentient beings be happy.” “May all sentient beings be free from suffering.”
Repeat these or similar statements (whatever resonates with you), speaking from your heart. Allow a picture of all sentient beings to form, and simply allow yourself to radiate heartfelt compassion for them.

– – – – – – –

The practice of radiating unconditional compassion can radically change your life, your self-concept, your relationships, and your brain. This meditation that I’ve shared with you is related to the meditation practice studied in quite possibly the most well-known contemplative neuroscience study, in which Dr. Richard Davidson recorded the brainwave patterns of seasoned meditators from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The high frequency gamma brainwaves generated by these monks have also been found by brain researcher Erik Hoffman to be possible indicators of profound spiritual awakening, referred to in the Hindu traditions as a kundalini awakening.

Although I recommend doing this meditation during your daily seated meditation practice, it is also quite powerful to practice this meditation throughout your day as well. When you think of or meet a friend, a loved one, a neutral person, a stranger, a difficult person, or someone who has hurt you—consciously radiate unconditional compassion for them and toward them from your heart. To be cognizant of potential ego deception, expect nothing in return, and don’t let this unconditional, compassionate giving go to your head, deceiving you into believing you’re “special” for doing such a practice. Just let it come from the heart, and feel sincere appreciation for being able to participate in such a practice. Experience the inner joy of being love. Oh, and don’t forget to radiate this compassion to the world at large and yourself as well. You’ll be glad you did 🙂

Namaste. 

ANAHATA: Bliss Encoded Music for Opening the Heart

ANAHATA: Bliss Encoded Music for Opening the Heart

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Eric Thompson of iAwake TechnologiesEric Thompson is a co-founder of iAwake Technologies, LLC and was its Chief Technology Officer. Although no longer with iAwake Technologies, his contributions have been immense. Eric is also an inventor, researcher, and producer, and is considered one of the world’s foremost brainwave entrainment experts. In addition, Eric is a pioneer in the development of biofield entrainment technology, which digitally captures and transmits life-enhancing and beneficial subtle energies to the human biofield via any digital medium, including pictures, audio, and film. By combining this emerging technology with an unconventional, innovative, and original approach to audio brainwave entrainment, Eric strives to make profound spiritual development and emotional freedom more easily accessible to all. He writes and speaks on the intersection between neuroscience, psychology, subtle energy, and spirituality.

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Leave your comments below

3 Comments

  1. Wolfgang on March 15, 2014 at 5:31 am

    Even though this blog post’s date is June 2013, I have come across ist only by today’s iAwake newsletter and I allow myself to add a comment from my own experience. I think it is easier to start with stage 2 and then do stage 1, because truly loving oneself sounds easy, but is not so simple.
    And I have a nice practice for every moment in life. In earlier times in my life I used to look at people I see in the street, in a restaurant etc. and immediately started checking out their weaknesses and problems and started internally critizing them (this unfriendly look, this hostile manner etc.). Now whenever I see someone, I imagine how they look like when they smile or laugh. The result is amazing!
    Love and blessings

  2. Gary on September 25, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    I will think of you as special and you do the same for me , that way we

    are speaking the same language. We all r our greater , and our lesser

    in some way .

  3. James on September 9, 2015 at 9:26 am

    If we can just allow LOVE to LOVE what it LOVES………….this alone will bring us to LOVE……after all it IS the energy of the universe…….how could it be otherwise…..

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