A Lovingkindness Meditation

1. Take a comfortable posture. 

One of the aims in this meditation is to feel good, so make your posture relaxed and comfortable. Breathe in and out, as if you are breathing from your heart center and begin by generating this kind feeling toward yourself. Feel any areas of mental blockage or numbness, self-judgment, self-hatred. Then drop beneath that to the place where we care for ourselves, where we want strength and health and safety for ourselves.

Continuing to breathe in and out and say or think these lines of prayer several times:

  • May I be filled with faith
  • May I be a source of hope
  • May I be aligned with love

2. Bring to mind a loving person you know.

Think of someone who most invites the feeling of pure unconditional lovingkindness, the love that does not depend on getting anything back. The first person we think of is usually someone we consider a mentor, a benefactor, an elder. It might be a parent, grandparent, teacher, someone toward whom it takes no effort to feel respect and reverence, someone who immediately elicits the feeling of care.

Repeat the phrases for this person: “May she/he be fill with faith….”

After feeling strong unconditional love for this benefactor, move to a person you regard as a dear friend, mentor, or teacher and repeat the phrases again, breathing in and out of your heart center.

  • May you be filled with faith
  • May you be filled with hope
  • May you be aligned with love

3. Bring to mind a person with whom you have difficulty.

Now move to someone you have difficulty with–hostile feelings, resentments. Repeat the same phrases for this person. 

  • May you be filled with faith
  • May you be filled with hope
  • May you be aligned with love

If you have difficulty doing this, you can say before the phrases, “To the best of my ability, I wish that you be….” If you begin to feel ill will toward this person, return to the benefactor you had in mind and let lovingkindness arise again. Then return to this person. Let the phrases spread through your whole body, mind, and heart.

4. Let your love radiate outward.

After the difficult person, radiate lovingkindness out to all beings. Stay in touch with the ember of warm, tender lovingkindness at the center of your being, and begin to visualize all living beings. The traditional phrases are these:

  • May we be filled with faith
  • May we be filled with hope
  • May we be filled with love

Allow the phrases to be simply a conduit for the force of lovingkindness. Empower your imagination through the phrases to touch the hearts of all forms of life in the universe, unconditionally and inclusively. Stay with all beings until you feel a personal sense of the profound interconnectedness of all creatures, all life.


Begin with yourself. Calm your mind/heart and find the center of your being. Generate warm, gentle, loving feelings for yourself as you say or think these lines:

  • May I be safe from harm.
  • May I be happy just as I am.
  • May I be peaceful with whatever is happening.
  • May I be healthy and strong.
  • May I care for myself in this ever-changing world graciously, joyously.

From yourself, move out spaciously into your immediate surroundings. Include every living being within this circle:

  • May all beings in the air, on land, and in the water be safe, happy, healthy, and free from suffering.

Stay within your reach. As you feel your immediate surround fill with the power of lovingkindness, move on, expanding the surround in concentric circles until you envelop the entire planet.

Expand your lovingkindness until you are able to visualize Earth, spinning within the vast, mysterious universe. If you like, continue expanding the sense of your lovingkindness, filling the endless emptiness of the universe.

  • May all living beings everywhere, on all planes of existence, known and unknown, be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering.

Based on a teaching by Steven Smith