The Daily Meditation Experiment – Week 2: Loving Kindness (Metta) Meditation

This is part of The Daily Meditation Experiment, where I am practicing one school of meditation per week to understand the overall structure & effects of each.

Also, this post is not nearly a week after it’s predicessor. Sorry about that. I fell off the meditation routine and it took me about 1.5 months to get back into it.

Meditation Method: Loving Kindness (Metta)

I sit on a cushion, eyes closed, for 20 minutes, listening to theta wave binaural beats.

I breathe deeply & naturally, focusing on my breath and on allowing my thoughts to pass through me without capturing me, just as I did in Vipassana.

Once my thoughts are clear, I begin to envision in detail what I would like my life to be like. I mentally repeat the words “I hope that I have X”. I then do this with someone I love. Then someone I don’t really care about. Then someone I don’t like.

 

Adherence: Minimal

I practiced loving kindness meditation on and off from June 1st, 2015 to July 20th, 2015.

Thoughts

I didn’t enjoy this one at all, nor see much benefit from it. It doesn’t feel like meditation so much as it feels like thinking (about good things that could happen to people).

I did notice that anger at people would decrease after I did a loving kindness meditation session featuring them. I would feel that I understood that they were nothing more than humans trying their best, and that I wished them well.

Beside that small increase in empathy & decrease in anger, though, I did not notice much postive effect. My focus was not increased, it was not very enjoyable at any point, I did not feel clear headed afterwards.

Results:

  • Slightly increased empathy.
  • Decreased anger.

Conclusion

Loving kindness meditation definitely isn’t for me. I found it boring and without much benefit.

I can see how it can be useful in gaining empathy and calming anger. But these improvements are not priorities in my life, and I the meditation style seems to lack any benefits besides that.

 

2 Comments +

  1. Eddy, I urge you to give this one another try. Seriously.

    Read cultivating compassion by Jeff Hopkins (Dalai Llama’s interpreter and an accomplished spiritual teacher in his own right)

    I practiced loving kindness meditation in Uni for about 60 days and it changed my life. Not in a warm-fuzzy “now I love everyone” sense, but in a nuts and bolts, day to day practical sense.

    I found that going about my day my mind was constantly judging those around me, especially other men (maybe because I was in my early 20’s and I saw them as competition?). I’m a nice happy guy on the outside, but on the inside there were all kinds of negative judgements I never even knew were happening. Nearly subconscious.

    After reading Hopkins book and practicing consistently for 6 weeks or so the default, automatic response in my mind when encountering new faces turned from a default setting of judgement, fear, me VS them, type nonsense to actually caring about them – being HAPPY that they existed.

    I don’t mean in an intellectual sense either, I mean I felt happy in my body when encountering almost anyone new.

    Never realized how much mental energy I drained through this automatic judgement BS until it was gone. After that, I gained ENERGY and positive feelings from those around me, even if they weren’t acting friendly.

    You know how they say introverts get energy drained from being in social setings, and extroverts gain energy from it? I’m convinced that LK meditation is a way to reset your default setting on this.

    Truly powerful practice if you are consistent. Try again man. You get out what you put in.

    1. Hey Jason, that’s a benefit from LK meditation that I’d never heard of before.

      I definitely don’t always feel energized meeting new people. More often lately, if they’re not particularly interesting people, I’m more disinterested and perhaps a bit resentful of the opportunity cost of meeting and spending time around them.

      Can I ask, what was your process when doing LK? What steps would you take in each meditation?

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