My favorite part of every 10-Day Vipassana Meditation retreat is at the end, when you learn to practice a technique called “Metta”, or peace loving kindness meditation.
In a nutshell, I like to look at it as a meditation on gratitude, forgiveness, and love – for myself, for my friends and family, and for the rest of the world.
It’s a very calming, curing, form of meditation, and is probably the most powerful technique I have discovered in the meditators toolkit.
While in traditional Vipassana, Metta is only done at the end of a session for 5-10 minutes, I have begun practicing it as a standalone form of meditation. I think that it deserves more time than a mere 10 minutes at the end of a session.
In many ways, this is my SOS meditation. It helps to re-center me when I’m feeling out of whack. Brings me back to shore when the waves of live have pushed me out to sea.
It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour (or more), depending on how quickly you want to move through these parts.
Feel free to look at it as an a-la carte menu and leave some parts out if you want, but I recommend trying it in it’s entirety at least once. I also recommend that you follow the sequence in this order, as it has a very intentional flow and doesn’t work as well if you jump around too much. I’d say that this is especially true for the first two to three sections.
I also do this specific meditation untimed, as I like to linger at certain points for as long as I need to. Try to carve out a nice chunk of time for yourself.
I personally get a lot of value from this practice, and I hope you do as well 🙂
Let’s dive in:
For the first few minutes I like to connect with my breathing. Focus on maintaining my attention on the in>out breath. Breathe>mind wanders>bring it back.
If you’re first starting off in meditation, this might be a bit difficult. You might feel like it’s hard to focus and thoughts keep popping up.
If it helps, you can try to count. 1 in breath, 2 out breath. 3 in breath, 4 out breath, and so on until 10.
Either way try to remain focused on the breath and relax as much as possible. Let go of any tension in the body. Breathe through it.
Once I feel like I have some control over my breathing and the initial excitement has worn away and I’m feeling a bit calmer, I smile.
I smile to myself and take a deep breath. I pay attention to how that simple smile instantly makes me feel differently.
Smiling sends a message to your central nervous system to calm down. That you have nothing to worry about.
Smile for a few moments and focus on feeling good.
Smiling Body Scan
As you continue to smile, you’ll notice that you can feel that smile in your cheeks, in your eyes.
Try to imagine that your eyes are smiling. Feel them.
Try to feel the smile in your cheeks, in your nose. Smile into them too.
Feel your whole face as it smiles.
Then move onto your shoulders. Feel them. Feel where there might be tension that you can let go of.
Take a deep breath, smile into your shoulders.
Then your arms and hands. Smile into them. Feel the happiness spreading throughout your body.
Then move onto your belly and feel it rising and falling. Imagine that your belly is smiling as it is breathing.
Then smile into your pelvic region. Your groin, your hips. Smile into them. Relax them. Let go of tension.
Breathe and smile and feel.
Then last, feel your legs and smile into them. Your quads and hamstrings and knees and calves and ankles. Feel your feet and smile into them.
Finally, come to the feet. I personally find that the hands and feet have the most activity, so linger here for a while as you smile into your feet.
Whole body smile
At this point you will notice that you feel a lot more connected to your entire body.
Try to feel all of your body at once. Feel it all together. Smile into your entire body.
Take a deep in breath, and as you breathe out smile and feel that positive energy ripple out through the rest of your body.
Feel your whole body at once as it vibrates. Smile!
Once my body feels like it’s buzzing with smiles and I’m feeling good, it’s time to start practicing gratitude.
At this point you’ve probably noticed that you’re no longer paying attention to any of the sounds going on outside. You’ve become so immersed in your inner world that you’ve stopped paying attention to everything else.
For this reason, after I do a body scan and feel my whole body filled with sensations, I like to turn my attention to the outer world.
I turn my attention to sounds – Listening.
I like to stop here and linger for a while. Spend a few minutes merely listening to all of the sounds around me. I try to notice the space between sounds. The layers of sounds based on how close they are. Frequency or volume.
I appreciate how vital sound is to my daily life and conversations. How much I rely on my hearing and how different life would be if my hearing suddenly disappeared.
I take the time to actively appreciate my hearing. To thank my ears and be grateful that I can listen to all of the wondrous music the world has to offer.
The other four senses
Next I will scan my eyes just like I did before – Focusing on how they feel and trying to smile into them.
I mentally say “thank you for allowing me to see.”
I try to imagine what life would be like without the ability to see. How beautiful this world is, how VISUAL the world is and how grateful I am for the ability to witness that wonder.
I actively appreciate how important my eyes are and how much I rely on them. How different life would be if they suddenly disappeared.
Sit here and linger with it as long as you need to.
Then I will move onto taste and smell. I think about the amazing food that I eat everyday. All of the flavors I get the opportunity to experience. All of the flavors I’ve experienced throughout my travels and how it’s given me so many positive memories.
I think about and appreciate how vital food is to my health. How important it is to eat healthy. How eating is what fuels the energy flowing through my body and helps me to rebuild and recover.
I also think about how grateful I am that I have food to eat in the first place. That I don’t have to worry about where my next meal will come from. That I have the privilege to select whatever I want to eat whenever I want.
A key part here is that for each of my senses I imagine how different life would be if that sense were to suddenly be stripped away from me.
Thinking how I might take it for granted. FEELING the appreciation for how much I RELY and DEPEND on these senses on a day to day basis.
Spend as much time as you need to here.
This alone is a very powerful meditation on gratitude, but from here I keep going.
Gratitude for Organs
Next I go through my organs, and thank each of them for what they do and how they help me.
First and foremost, thank you to my HEART. The muscle that keeps me alive and….
ALIVE AND BREATHING
Without either of these I would be dead. They are the essence of my life force and vitality.
The heart and lungs.
I put my hand over my heart and feel my heartbeat. I take a deep breath. And then another. And then three more.
I FEEL my body and all of it’s energy. How my heartbeat pulses blood around my body and ripples energy into all of my body parts.
I take a deep breath and feel the air enter my lungs. I appreciate how important my lungs are to my health. How much of a role breathing plays in my health, both physically and mentally. How breathing is the core foundational practice of all meditation techniques.
Same goes for the heart. How stress is bad for the heart. How cardiovascular health is one of the largest determinants of overall health. How without my heartbeat – I die.
I’ll usually sit there for a few minutes more or less hugging myself and breathing. It’s really very beautiful.
Then I’ll sit up straight again, take another deep breath and move onto the next most important organ (in my opinion)….
Jesus Christ thank you! Thank you for giving me the ability to THINK. To write. To move. To solve problems. To CREATE problems!
It can solve math and puzzles and read people’s emotions and give me creativity….WHAT A POWERFUL FUCKING MACHINE!!!
How does it do it?! I sure as shit know I’m not the one who does it. I just dig into the depths of this wonderful muscle called the brain and come back with an answer.
Holy shit thank you my glorious brain that powers my entire day!
It’s one thing to be alive, it’s another to be conscious. I appreciate my consciousness. My ability to think and learn and build habits and train myself.
The brain is an amazing thing. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!
Next I’ll move onto my bladder and intestines and liver (I batch the rest of the them together for ease as this meditation is already long enough but feel free to segment them if you want to!).
I appreciate how I put food and drinks into my body and these organs break down and process all of it and then distribute it throughout the rest of my body enabling me to grow and recover and live another, stronger day.
This beautiful machine of a body that I have!!!
Then, I’ll go down to my favorite organ of them all..
My cock n’ balls!!!
I’ll think about how my balls produce the testosterone that flows through my body. How essential that testosterone is to my health as a man and how grateful I am for it’s power.
I’ll think about how my balls produce sperm that will one day give me the potential to be a father. How amazing of an opportunity that is and how grateful I am that they produce MILLIONS of opportunities every day!!!
I’ll think about how much pleasure that my penis/cock/shlong/dick has given me! I think about the memories I’ve had with him, and the great experiences we’ve shared together.
Again as I do this I try to FEEL my cock resting gently against my ball sack. I can feel the two of them touching. Expanding and contracting with my breath, “breathing” for lack of a better word.
Sometimes when I do this I will get hard as well. I will feel my raging erection in all of its glory. How GOOD it feels. How powerful it feels.
Mental boners. Seriously when practicing gratitude is there anything I could be MORE grateful for?!!?!
Thank god I have a dick this thing is awesome!!! :hands raised emoji:
Jokes aside – I believe that this is a very powerful part of the meditation practice. It’s connecting with your sexuality and your sexual energy. Which, especially for most men, is something they have never really explored and dove into.
It’s made me appreciate my dick that much more. How I take for granted that he works perfectly and is a great size and makes myself and women happy and will one day help me to start a family.
Thanks Mr. Cock N’ Balls, I love you.
Then from there (especially if I get hard), I can feel the energy of my body flowing more powerfully. I feel awake.
Again, I focus all of my attention on feeling all of my body at the same time (as much as I can). I anchor myself to the bodily sensations and energy flowing through me.
I look at that energy and observe it in amazement.
Holy crap look at all of this energy flowing through me! My god there is so much activity! I’m so ALIVE!
THANK GOD I’M ALIVE AND ABLE TO EXPERIENCE THIS. THAT I AM ABLE TO FEEL EVERYTHING FLOWING THROUGH ME – GOOD AND BAD. THANK YOU THAT I AM HERE TO WITNESS THE WONDER OF THE UNIVERSE EXPRESSED THROUGH THE FEELINGS FLOWING THROUGHOUT MY BODY!!!!
Overflowing with energy, buzzing with energy at my peak, I imagine sharing that energy with the rest of the world.
This is an important point here – now that you are feeling at your best, you want to SHARE this with the rest of the world. May the rest of the world benefit from the fact that you’re now feeling like your most grateful most appreciative self.
May others share your benefits and positive qualities. May your good energy ripple out into them. May you overflow your love to the rest of the world.
Family and Friends
From here I practice loving kindness for all of the important people in my life.
In this part I use a hybrid of Metta meditation I learned during Vipassana.
I always start out with my mom. I love you momma!
May my mom be happy. May my mom be free from anger, hatred, ill-will, animosity, and resentment. May she be free from stress, anxiety, and negativity. May my mom be full of love and compassion. May my mom be happy.
I try to visualize her smiling. I imagine giving her a big hug. I visualize the happiest best version of my mom that I can.
I will think of a specific memory of the two of us, a positive memory that makes me smile. For my mom, that usually means a memory of us on the beach. That’s our happy place. I pay close attention to the feelings that arise while thinking about this love for my mother.
Then I’ll do the same for my dad. “May my dad be happy. May he be free from anger, hatred, resentment, etc etc…”
Then the same for my two brothers.
Each time first wishing them well and imagining a positive memory I’ve shared with them, visualizing them as happy as can be.
Then I’ll move onto my friends. One by one I will go through each one of them with the same process I did for my family. I’ll think of all the positive memories we’ve shared together and reflect on how much my friends mean to me and how much they help me in my life to become my best self.
Then I’ll move onto my co-workers and the people who I do business with. Same process again.
The whole wide world
Then I’ll move onto the whole world. All of the people out there I’ve never met. How I want the world to be a happier place. For this I say “may all beings be happy.”
When I do this, I like to imagine my idea of an ideal world. A world living in peace and harmony, loving one another and smiling.
For me it honestly looks like Carnavale in Brazil – everyone dressed up in costumes singing and dancing in the streets, embracing each other smiling and kissing and living life to the fullest.
Whatever your ideal world looks like – imagine it. Feel the collective happiness of all of humanity. Meditate on wishing well to everyone everywhere. Animals, spirits and ghosts, aliens, whoever and whatever you want to include, may all beings of all shapes and sizes, planets and dimensions, be happy, healthy, compassionate, and loving to one another.
To wrap things up one final time, again I will put my hand on my heart and feel it beating. I feel how different my body and energy feels after having completed this meditation. I thank myself for taking time out of my day to practice something like this, and appreciate how healthy it is for me.
Again I say thank you for my life, thank you for my heartbeat, my breath, my health, my family and friends, my job, thank you to all of the beautiful people out there living life to the fullest, thank you thank you thank you thank you.
After this I will give myself some time to come back to earth before opening my eyes. I’ll pick an anchor like my breath or the sounds around me, and I’ll do nothing for a few minutes. I’ll give my mind some space to relax and wander.
Breathe. Listen. Relax and feel good for a few moments.
And that’s it 🙂
I hope that this practice here helps you to become a happier, more grateful person. May you use this to appreciate all of the good that you have in your life. May it bring you love, health, and happiness. May it free you from suffering.
And if you enjoyed and got value, like, share, comment, and show some love back 🙂