Sitting Meditation: Metta – Kindly Awareness, also known as Loving-Kindness Meditation (30min)
Pauses for this practice can be 60 seconds for Session 7

Intention – Practising kindness to ourselves, the whole of our experience, and others and all of humanity.
Attention – Connecting with our experience with kindness, noticing how it feels to be kind to ourselves and others
Attitude – Curiosity, Kindness, Non Judging

5 Stages Kindly Awareness

Settling into a comfortable sitting position. If using a chair, sitting away from the chair’s back so that the spine is self-supporting.
If sitting on the floor, it is helpful if the knees are supported. If they aren’t touching the floor, you could try supporting them with cushions.
Experiment until you feel comfortable and firmly supported.

Feeling the sitting bones on the chair or cushion.
Tuning in – to the sensations of the body
perhaps feeling a lightness or expansion in the spine – with the head balanced on the top
seeing if we can find a position for the head where it is not too far forward – or too far back
If sitting on a chair, finding a position for the feet to be supported and flat on the floor with legs uncrossed.
Gently closing the eyes if that feels comfortable.
If not, letting the gaze fall unfocused on the floor a short distance in front.
Perhaps making an active choice to allow ourselves to be exactly as we are in this moment
Which in itself is an act of kindness

Taking a moment now to become aware of sounds outside of the room
awareness of the sense of hearing
not trying to identify the sounds – just moving from sound to sound
Now moving to sounds inside the room
the sound of my voice
allowing sounds to come and go as they please

When it feels right for you moving the awareness and attention to gently noticing the movement of
the breath
it’s a constant feature of life that it’s easily forgotten
taking some time with it now
practising feeling the sensations as the breath enters the body – and leaves the body of its own
accord
allowing it to move through its cycle of in-breath – and out-breath without controlling
Sensing the rise and fall of the belly
Perhaps placing the hands on the belly
feeling the movement of the breath – the rhythm
letting it roll in
and roll out
riding the waves of the breath from moment to moment
As we practice this meditation – if at any time sensations in the body become too uncomfortable, thoughts or emotions arise that are too difficult – remembering that it is always possible to come back to the rhythm of your breath or the feet on the floor as a safe place, a retreat for us to rest in practising coming back to the breath as an anchor in our lives until we are ready to venture back into the meditation
just tuning in and listening to the sound of my voice

3/30
Responding kindly to the whole of your experience ~7min
Although the practice is about empathising with others, we start with ourselves
it’s only possible to connect with others if we have awareness, openness and honesty in our own experience
So settling into a broad experience of the senses
Awareness of the body, the breath and the present moment,
practising a sense of warmth and kindness flowing through us with the breath,
imagining that it soothes the body as it flows in and out.
if it’s challenging to connect with a sense of kindness, then breathe with the intention of responding kindly
From this space of being grounded and in the moment – bringing to mind someone that it is easy to
feel kindness towards – someone from the past or present, perhaps a child, or a pet
an easy, simple, loving relationship may be best
Allowing yourselves to hold them in your awareness,
perhaps practising seeing them in your mind’s eye
or feeling a sense of them in the heart
as best we can feeling a sense of kindness towards them
where can you feel this sense of kindness in your body as you hold them in your awareness?
Making the kindness you feel towards them as tangible as possible.
Perhaps sensing how this person feels towards you, seeing yourself through their eyes.
Exploring the kindness, they feel for you.
What would it feel like to allow the image or felt sense of your chosen person to fade
and practising seeing how it is for yourself to be the one who receives kindness
resting here in your own kind regard
sending yourself loving-kindness
Now, if it feels appropriate, practising repeating some phrases silently to ourselves,
noticing any effect in the body, thoughts or emotions.
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I love myself just as I am.
May I find peace in this uncertain world.
Maybe you’re not feeling kindness at this moment – and that’s OK
whatever you are feeling – just practising having the intention of kindness
even when there is pain or suffering
as best we can, softening to whatever is present
by taking the breath to any painful sensations,
breathing in softness
and breathing out with a sense of softening resistance
Perhaps treating the pain as we would treat a child or a loved one who is injured
with a soft breath and gently kindness
so practising once more
noticing how we may be drawn towards this practice or drawn away from it
Being mindful of the quality or qualities that are arising in the moment
practising letting go of any judgments
we may – or may not – be feeling kindness
and that’s simply how it is right now
remembering that the heart has its seasons and feelings cannot be forced
so practising giving ourselves permission to be just as we are
Practising broadening – and investigating with awareness the nature of experience from a perspective of wholeness and integration.
Rather than trying to grasp or push it away, living with life’s continual changes creates a strong, stable perspective.
And all the time, the practice is held kindly by the breath
soothing and caressing us moment-by-moment

10/30
A good friend ~5min
In the second stage of the practice, bringing to mind a friend.
Inviting this person into our awareness in whatever way feels most alive and engaged
That may be through a mental image of them, feeling of what they are like
perhaps hearing them
Practising evoking a sense of our friend, sitting with our experience of them
bringing to mind what we share.
As in the first stage, we reflected on the pleasure and pain in our own experience
now practising reflecting that our friend also experiences pleasure and pain in each moment of their life.

Now, if it feels appropriate, practising repeating some phrases silently towards our friend.
May you be happy and healthy.
May you love yourself just as you are.

May you find peace in this uncertain world.
May you find your own path.

The stories of our lives are different, but the essential human experience is similar.
Our friend feels joy and sorrow – hope and fear – experiences triumphs and regrets
just like we do.
They experience the same range of emotions that we experience,
and – just like us – they wish to love and be loved.
We can also reflect that our friend is breathing in and out just as we are.
Practising becoming aware of our friend on the in-breath,
and then breathing out kindness and well-wishing towards them on the out-breath

Coming back to the body and breath
anchoring in the present moment
breathing in a kindly breath
breathing out a kindly breath

15/30
A neutral person ~4min
In the third stage, bringing to mind someone for whom we have no feelings of liking or disliking,
perhaps because we don’t know them well.
We might choose someone we know by sight, such as a local shopkeeper,
or someone with whom we haven’t formed an emotional connection – a colleague at work, perhaps
Practising awareness of our breath
practising bringing the quality of kindness to our breath
and what it would be like to breathe with a kind breath
Breathing in with a kind breath
breathing out with a kind breath
Breathing in kindly awareness
breathing out kindly awareness

Reflecting on that neutral person – reflecting on our shared humanity
they too, just like ourselves, have pleasant experiences
have unpleasant experiences
experience pleasures and pains – hopes and fears
and like us, they are breathing

Breathing in with a kind breath
breathing out with a kind breath
Now, if it feels appropriate, practising repeating some phrases silently towards the neutral person.
May you be happy and healthy.
May you love yourself just as you are.
May you find peace in this uncertain world.
May you find your own path.
Practising cultivating a quality of kindness and interest to the breath.
On the in-breath, be aware of this person and their humanity,
and on the out-breath, breathing out kindness and well-wishing towards them

Coming back to the body and breath
anchoring in the present moment
breathing in a kindly breath
breathing out a kindly breath

19/30
A person with whom we have difficulty ~4min
In the 4th stage, bringing to mind someone with whom we feel some kind of barrier, difficulty or
disharmony. When we’re learning the practice, it’s probably best to choose someone with whom the difficulty is reasonably mild or with whom we experience some irritation, rather than someone who triggers trauma.
Using our imagination, practising engaging with this person’s humanity.
Practising awareness of our breath
practising bringing the quality of kindness to our breathing
Breathing in with a kind breath
breathing out with a kind breath
Breathing in kindly awareness
breathing out kindly awareness
nurturing and holding the pain we experience with the difficulty.

Practising reflecting on our shared humanity
Reflecting that whatever difficulties there may be between us – they also experience a broadly similar range of emotions to ourselves
they have their good days and their not so good days
they have people in their lives whom they long to love and be loved by – just like us.
Although they might be difficult for us to be with, they have the same tendencies of avoiding the unpleasant and grasping the pleasant with all the behavioural consequences that follow
Rather than our response to them being dominated by dislike, we may practice relating to this person from a broader, kinder, more empathetic perspective
If they were truly happy – our relationship would probably be a lot easier
practising infusing the breath with kindness
On the in-breath, becoming aware of this person
and on the out-breath, breathing out kindness and well-wishing
Now, if it feels appropriate, practising repeating some phrases silently towards the person with whom
we have some difficulty
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.

May you find peace in this uncertain world.
May you find your own path.

Breathing in kindly awareness
breathing out kindly awareness
Practising awareness of the sensations that are arising in this moment
letting go of judgment
you may or may not be feeling kindness
and that’s simply how it is right now
remembering that the heart has its seasons and feelings cannot be forced
giving yourself permission to be just as you are
Breathing in with a kind breath
breathing out with a kind breath

Coming back to the body and breath
anchoring in the present moment
breathing in a kindly breath
breathing out a kindly breath

23/30
Broadening our awareness to include more and more people ~5min
Now bringing to mind the people we have already practised with: ourselves, the friend, the
neutral person (2. version: and the person we find difficult)
as best we can imagining that they are sitting in a circle with us
or just cultivating a sense of these people being present
Practising connecting with what we share
our common human experience
for those we know well
for those, we know less well
those we love
and those we love less
becoming aware of how it is with us right now
noticing what is arising as we practice kindness to ourselves, our friend, the neutral person, (2. version: the person we find difficult)
practising awareness of how it is right now
noticing what is arising as we send kindness to these people

Then broadening out our awareness to include more and more people
Thinking of people in all directions
all of them experiencing a mixture of pain and pleasure, just as we do
No matter
where they live – their age – origin or wealth
all experience pain and pleasure
We all share a common human experience
Now, if it feels appropriate, practising repeating some phrases silently towards more and more
people.
May we all be happy and healthy.
May we all take care of yourselves, look after ourselves.
May we all find peace in this uncertain world.
May we all find our own paths.

Practising bringing to mind people in the house – breathing – just like us
People in the neighbourhood – breathing – just like us
In the nearby towns and villages – all people everywhere – breathing – just like us
Allowing kindly awareness to permeate our breath as we think of a widening circle of life.
We may practice allowing in a sense of the whole world breathing
rising and falling like waves on the ocean
the breath rolling is
the breath rolling out

Coming back to the body and breath
anchoring in the present moment
breathing in a kindly breath
breathing out a kindly breath

28/30
Gently expanding the attention to include the entire body from the soles of the feet to the top of
the head
being present to the totality of the experience of sitting here in this moment
perhaps feeling the breath moving in the body
sensing the body sitting here, breathing, in this moment
noticing the thoughts and feelings
and allowing ourselves to be exactly as we are

And now grounding ourselves – earthing ourselves
breathing in
and breathing out – down into the ground
breathing in
and breathing out – down into the earth,
earthing ourselves

Broadening our awareness out to the sense of hearing
of sounds in the room
starting to move and stretch
and when we are ready
gently opening our eyes
and coming back into the room
our meditation is now complete.