During Insight Meditation, we are mostly concerned
with purifying the mind and making insights into a more
profound reality. In Mettá Meditation, we are concerned
with the development of wholesome qualities of mind and
to share this merit with all beings. Mettá, indeed, can
be developed only if one gives it to boundless beings
without discrimination and without expectation of
something in return. It should be free of selfishness or
attachment. The object of Mettá meditation should be
infinite beings. Therefore, Mettá should be extended
towards all beings without exception. May all beings be
well and happy, it embraces all living beings.
This meditation simply uses the power of positive
thinking and self-suggestion. As soon as I say to myself "
I need a holiday", I have made a suggestion to myself. I
thing it over and then I make a decision to organize one.
This is positive thinking. Soon enough, I go on vacation.
That's the outcome, the result of suggesting a vacation
to myself ... of thinking about it and then making a
This meditation uses these techniques to develop good qualities we already have and introduce new wholesome qualities. Once we feel established in these qualities, we can easily share them with others. We are all too familiar with the negative side. If we're depressed, for instance, and we go out with some friends, it isn't long before everyone wishes we hadn't come ... we make everyone miserable. Depression is catching!
I'm sure you have experienced walking into a room where there has been an argument and felt the 'atmosphere'. But in this meditation, we try to develop quite the opposite states of mind ... friendliness, compassion, joy and peacefulness. It is these that we try to share with others and this is called the Sharing of Merit. Here is a simple formula, but once you feel you understand it, you can add to it or make up your own if you wish.
Before we send out wholesome qualities to other beings, we have to develop them in ourselves, so we should given Mettá to ourselves. Firstly, therefore, one should give Mettá to oneself:
May I be free from anger and hatred.
May I be free from greed and selfishness.
May I be free from fears and anxiety.
May I be free from all pain and suffering.
May I be free from ignorance and delusion.
May I be free from all negative states of mind.
May I be happy and peaceful.
May I be liberated from bondages.
May I experience Nibbanic peace within.
Then practice Mettá towards all beings sharing peace and happiness:
May all beings free from anger and hatred.
May all beings free from greed and selfishness.
May all beings free from fears and anxiety.
May all beings free from all pain and suffering.
May all beings free from ignorance and delusion.
May all beings free from all negative states of mind.
May all beings be happy and peaceful.
May all beings be liberated from bondages.
May all beings live in Peace and Harmony.
May all beings experience the Nibbanic peace within.
After this, we can bring to mind family, friends, teachers and others and offer them goodwill in the same way. We can even bring to mind people we dislike or who dislike us and offer them at least an attitude of 'no harm'.