Classic Phrases of Metta

Classic Phrases of Metta Loving Kindness Meditation

The classic way to practice metta is to recite four phrases over and over again silently, letting each phrase be savored before going on to the next.

Sharon Salzberg is the Buddhist teacher who popularized this practice in the West. She wrote a beautiful book Loving Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, a wonderful reference if you are looking for more information on metta.

These are the traditional four phrases of metta:

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be at peace.
  • May I live with ease.
  • May I be free from suffering.

Some people can’t use these phrases for one reason or another. Sometimes the phrases bring up too much negative back-talk, creating more of an internal fight than generating more harmony!

If that’s the case, make the practice your own. Try a simple mantra, a nurturing affirmation, or phrases that work for you.

Many of my clients invent their own phrases. They may change them over time, but they start with what works now.

For many people, concentration practices and metta in particular, can be one of the most powerful skill you will learn. Just imagine that when your brain gets hijacked with obsessive thinking, or overwhelming feelings, or attacking voices you can unhook from them and chart a different course. What freedom that would give you!

Return to Loving Kindness Meditation

Return to Concentration Meditation

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