Mindfulness Exercises For Loving Kindness & Compassion

Feel more care, loving kindness and compassion with our free mindfulness exercises, guided meditations, mindfulness worksheets and more. 

Grateful Journal

Grateful Journal

This Grateful Journal guides you in developing gratitude by writing down the things you are thankful for daily for 6 ...
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metta post obama

Metta in the Post Obama Era

Matthew Brensilver leads a guided meditation about Metta in the Post Obama Era. "Aspire to be safe for others." centering ...
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Self compassion

Self-Compassion

Tara Brach talks about the topic Self-Compassion. In these difficult times, we're often cruel on ourselves. It's necessary to have ...
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Awareness And Intimacy

Awareness And Intimacy

In this mindfulness talk, Jack Kornfield discusses how to navigate intimacy as we develop greater mindfulness and self-awareness ...
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Loving Kindness

Loving Kindness

Sean Fargo leads a guided meditation on Loving Kindness. Metta or loving-kindness is the movement of love and sense of ...
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Fred Luskin The Choice to Forgive

Fred Luskin: The Choice To Forgive

This video discusses how forgiveness is a choice in every case of loss, and that if forgiveness is chosen, openness ...
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I Am Grateful For

I Am Grateful For

With this Mindfulness Exercise, you will be asked to list down some of the things that you are grateful for, ...
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30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude

A Gratitude Exercise consisting of the Ramadan Challenge in which you will write down one thing you are grateful for ...
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The Path of Tenderness [Audio]

The Path of Tenderness [Audio]

What does it mean to live with tenderness? We need tenderness to meet our vulnerability as human beings – that ...
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Thich Nhat Hanh: Conversations on Compassion

Thich Nhat Hanh: Conversations on Compassion

Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh explains how mindfulness can reduce suffering, bring happiness, and enable compassion to be born ...
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Gratitude

Gratitude

Gil Fronsdal is a world-renowned Buddhist teacher and scholar. In this free mindfulness talk, he discusses the importance of Gratitude ...
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mindfulness exercises guided meditation 8

Heartfelt Meditation

Joseph Goldstein leads a guided meditation on Metta. Metta is the feeling of kindliness, loving-kindness, and heartfelt. Of friendliness and ...
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Gratitude Journal 3

Gratitude Journal 3

This Mindfulness Exercise guides readers on how to keep a gratitude journal, where they would write a detailed entry about ...
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Cultivation

Love: Cultivation, Concentration & Purification

Matthew Brensilver talks about Love: Cultivation, Concentration & Purification. Love makes our grounds fertile to realize wisdom deeply ...
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Ending the day with gratitude

Ending the Day with Gratitude

Be mindful of the events that happen in your life? To keep the important experiences which make you happy well ...
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loving kindness for the earth

Loving Kindness For The Earth

Einstein said a human being is part of the whole universe. Wes Nisker talks about Loving Kindness for the Earth ...
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Sharing Gratitude – Meditation

Sharing Gratitude – Meditation

Feel the gratitude growing and becoming brighter and brighter with each beat of your heart as you do the sharing ...
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Jack Kornfield: Forgiveness Meditation

Forgiveness Meditation

Jack Kornfield shows how to practice forgiveness meditation so you can forgive others and yourself, as well as ask for ...
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Getting Over to Someone

How to Get Over Someone

The vid shows a good way of overcoming one's feelings of attachment for someone & steers one into the direction ...
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Why We Go Cold On Our Partners

Why We Go Cold On Our Partners

Going cold on our partners is often a sign not that we have stopped caring, but that we are – ...
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Mindfulness for holiday stress

Gratitude

Ajahn shares Buddhist wisdom about gratitude. How gratitude is a silent teacher in the Buddhist teachings but quite a persistent ...
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Mindfulness for holiday stress

The Dharma of True Friendship

Kate Munding shares a story about how the Buddha advised on friendship; also shared her own story about the friendships ...
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Seeing Yourself With Love FI

Seeing Yourself With Love

Seeing Yourself with Love is a mindfulness practice that allows you to see the good qualities within you that others ...
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On Love by Ajahn Jayasaro

On Love

A free, downloadable ebook On Love by Ajahn Jayasaro. It's about mindfulness and the different types of love to make ...
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Anam Thubten

Melting Into Love [Audio]

Melting Into Love, by Anam Thubten: About Anam Thubten:As a young child growing up in Tibet, Anam Thubten was intent ...
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Meditation For Gratitude

Guided Meditation For Gratitude

This is a 10 minute guided meditation that is meant to help you start your day in a calm and ...
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How To Be Self-Compassionate

How To Be Self-Compassionate

Published on Oct 16, 2014The world's leading researcher of self-compassion and founder of the Mindful Self-Compassion program considers--and rebuts--some of ...
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All Forgiveness Is Self Forgiveness by Frank Ostaseski

All Forgiveness is Self Forgiveness

Frank Ostaseski, Founder of Metta Institute, talks about the power of forgiveness. Forgive because all forgiveness is ultimately self-forgiveness ...
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Self-Compassion & Our Common Humanity Kristin Neff

Self Compassion & Our Common Humanity

In this video, Kristin Neff talks about self-compassion and our common humanity. She has developed an 8-week program on self-compassion ...
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Love And Self-Love

Love And Self-Love

Without a decent amount of self-love, the love of another person will always prove sickening and misguided. We should know ...
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Dear Future Generations Sorry [Video]

Dear Future Generations: Sorry [Video]

An apology letter to future generations, this video speaks of how we leave the planet in a sad state to ...
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Why Love and Teaching Belong Together

Why Love and Teaching Belong Together

An insightful look at relationships, pondering on the notion of love and teaching being intertwined - recommended for new couples ...
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Erin-Treat

Training The Heart to Awaken [Audio]

Training The Heart to Awaken, by Erin Treat:About Erin Treat:Erin lives in Durango, Colorado and is a member of the ...
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Robert Thurman: Love Your Enemy

Robert Thurman: Love Your Enemy

This clip features Professor Robert Thurman breaking down the idea of why one should love his or her enemy, and ...
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Nothingness Is The Ultimate Reality

Nothingness is the Ultimate Reality

There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing. Nothingness is ...
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I’m Right, You’re Wrong!

I’m Right, You’re Wrong!

Learn loving-kindness, benevolence, radical acceptance and non-aversion in the core of the first brahma-vihāra - mettā, presented in this book ...
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The Source Of All Trust

The Source Of All Trust

What's missing in your life? What were you really meant to do? Listen to this powerful talk on the source ...
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How To Feel Safe, Content & Connected

How To Feel Safe, Content & Connected

We have 3 overarching needs. Needs that help us be safe by avoiding harms, help us be content by rewards ...
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Nature of Awareness

The Power of Lovingkindness

The practice of Metta makes the heart more responsive. You'll be surprised you don't even need to learn Metta in ...
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Remembering Motivation

Right Livelihood & Redemption

Jack Kornfield talks about the mystery of human life and the topic of redemption in relation to having the right ...
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Gratitude Exercise: The Can of Heinz Beans

Gratitude Exercise: The Can of Heinz Beans

This simple Gratitude Exercise, to be conducted once a week, uses a can of Heinz beans to help you appreciate ...
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Practicing Mindfulness with Kindfulness

A Story: Practicing Mindfulness with Kindfulness

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on Kindfulness, please bring kind awareness to - why you chose this topic- how your ...
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Increase Loving Kindness

How To Increase Loving Kindness

Sharon Salzberg talks about Metta- the Practice of Loving Kindness. The kind of loving kindness that does not select but ...
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Why Love Requires Generosity

Why Love Requires Generosity

Take your relationship back on track by watching this video and know why the most genuine meaning of love requires ...
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Purification Through Love

Purification Through Love

Spring Washam talks about Purification Through Love which is actually Metta, Loving-kindness. She explains how Loving-kindness purifies the soul, how ...
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Loving-Kindness, Compassion, and Mindfulness

We have all heard stories about the power of love. No matter what form it comes in, love has the ability to inspire, heal, uplift, and encourage us, even during the heaviest times. But what is this force of love really? What is it in its truest sense? We often hear loving phrases passed around such as “unconditional love” and “loving-kindness,” but it is not always clear how these universal notions of love can be applied to our everyday lives amidst the challenges, hardships, and emotions we all face. As we begin to look more closely at what is meant by words like loving-kindness and unconditional love, we come to better understand what these notions of love refer to and how their essence blossoms alongside our mindfulness practice.

Understanding the Nature of Love

To help to better understand what is meant by unconditional love, it proves useful to first break these associated terms down into simple definitions. From there, we can expand upon these definitions to get a better sense of what unconditional love is and what it is not.

There are a variety of terms we might hear used when it comes to heart-based mindfulness practices. They might be considered synonymous because of the fact that they all point towards the same universal truth that resides in the heart and in all living things. However, there are small differences that exist between their definitions and what they each point to.

Compassion

Compassion is our ability to feel for the suffering of others, and to be moved by their experiences. It is a heartfelt experience of having genuine care and concern for what another person is going through.

Loving-Kindness

Known as metta in the Pali language, loving-kindness is a practice of cultivating compassion, understanding, and love for all living things, beginning with oneself. It is a practice of the Buddhist tradition that guides us to uncover our innate capacity of unconditional love.

Unconditional Love

Unconditional love is the force to which all heart-centered practices point. It is an acknowledgment that beneath everything that lives on the surface, there exists a universal current of love beneath. This notion asks us to love each moment and the people in it exactly as they are.

Unconditional love, compassion, and loving-kindness meditation does not require us to condone or accept any and all behavior, particularly abuse. Abuse should never be tolerated. What these practices do require of us is that we open our hearts a little bit further to our everyday interactions and associated reactions that separate us from others. Heart-centered mindfulness practice asks us to move further into the underlying oneness that binds us. Even when a relationship feels strained, whether that relationship is within ourselves or with another, these forces call us to inquire more deeply than the manner by which the conditioned mind habitually moves due to our conditioning.

Unconditional love and compassion, when practiced through either loving-kindness meditation or another heart-based practice, simply asks us to engage with the world through an open heart, rather than through the mind we are so accustomed to unconsciously engaging. It asks us to let go of the rational, analytic mind and return to a sense of openness within, a place that is better equipped to help us understand the root of whatever conflict is arising. Through consciously embracing these forces during meditation, or during any thought wave or interaction that arises, we hone in on our ability to pay attention. This is the art of mindfulness.

How Mindfulness Fuels the Heart

Mindfulness practice promotes the experience of unconditional love, inwardly and outwardly – that is, it supports the expression and deepening of positive heart-associated emotions such as compassion, empathy, understanding, connection, acceptance, and warmth.

How does mindfulness make the heart happy? There are a few studied mechanisms by which these practices work. Mindfulness practice can help us to:

  • Better understand and regulate our emotions, making it easier to find clarity within rising waves and to connect with others in the presence of whatever raw emotion is present
  • Experience increased empathy, making it easier for us to understand and share what another person is going through
  • Improve self-compassion, helping to reduce negative self-talk and increase acceptance of ourselves exactly as we are
  • Increase spirituality and/or deepen our understanding of oneness, connecting us to an intuitive knowing that we are all one and the same

It is often said that where attention goes energy flows, and no more clearly can this be witnessed than in heart-centered mindfulness practices. Heart-based meditations and mindfulness techniques help us to draw our attention away from the racing mind and into the still, open space of the heart. It calls us more deeply into the body, helping us to better understand everything that moves through us, including our own barriers to unconditional love.

Benefits of Loving-Kindness and Other Heart-Centered Meditations

The heart is the center of our being – our emotional, spiritual, and physical center. When we look towards ancient Vedic knowledge of the chakra system, we find that the heart chakra lies in the center. It is the balancing point between upward- and downward-moving energies. As such, it represents divine union between body and spirit, the visible and invisible, feminine and masculine, or between whatever other dualities can be observed.

There are countless benefits of exploring heart-centered mindfulness practices. With dedication and devotion given to the heart-space, positive benefits can include:

  • Increased resilience, both physical and emotional
  • Reduction of personal bias and negative judgment
  • Improved social interactions and relationships
  • Increased compassion and empathy
  • Reduced self-criticism and increased confidence

Heart-Centered Mindfulness Meditations and Resources

To help increase your experience of the positive benefits associated with mindfulness practice, there are a variety of tools and techniques you can consider exploring. When you are establishing your loving-kindness practice or other heart-centered meditation, it can be helpful to use free, guided recordings to keep your mind focused on the practice. Online worksheets can also help to strengthen your practice by guiding your conscious mind to the heart space and mindfully reflecting on whatever rests there.

Two simple techniques to awaken the heart are outlined below. For each of these mindfulness meditations, bring yourself to a comfortable seated position on a cushion or meditation bench, or in a straight-backed chair. Allow the shoulders to relax and the chest to open. Settle into the space by taking a few slow and steady breaths into the heart, allowing it to expand on the inhalation and soften on the exhalation. Once you are settled, you may begin.

Simple Heart-Based Mindfulness Meditation

  • Beginning by drawing your awareness deeply into the body by holding your attention on the natural flow of your breath. Follow each inhalation and each exhalation, noting any sensations present as the air moves along its path.
  • After a minute or two of breath focus, draw your attention to your stomach. Notice the way energy seems to flow alongside your shift in attention, perhaps witnessing the belly softening, rising, and falling more completely than before. Breathe into the belly for another minute, allowing yourself to come into a state of complete relaxation.
  • Finally, draw your awareness to the heart center. Allow the chest to expand as you breathe into the entirety of the lungs. Let the breath, as it moves through the heart space, be your anchor when thoughts arise.
  • Whenever the mind becomes entranced by a thought or story, simply observe it for a moment with unconditional compassion and acceptance, and then gently guide the thought down to the heart space. Resume focus on this area of the body – on this energetic center of your entire being. Allow the heart to expand in silent power as the mind subsides.
  • Sit with this for a minimum of ten or fifteen minutes, or for longer if you are comfortable with this practice. When you are ready to come back to the outer world, take a moment to offer gratitude to yourself for this practice. Then, draw your awareness to the physical body for a few breaths and then slowly open your eyes.

Loving-Kindness Meditation

  • Once you are grounded into the space you are in, take a few more moments to draw your awareness to the center of your chest. Take a few more deep breaths here.
  • Begin the practice by bringing your own self to mind, exactly as you are. Spend a few moments opening your heart to yourself and, once you are focused, silently speak the following words to offer yourself deep love and compassion:
    May you be loved, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be at peace.
  • Repeat this series of phrases two more times, allowing yourself to be bathed in your own capacity for unconditional love and acceptance. Take your time you need to sit with these words.
  • When you are ready, allow the image of yourself to melt away and prepare to repeat this practice with three additional people in heart and mind:
    Someone with whom you are close
    Someone to whom you feel neutral
    Someone with whom you have challenges
  • For each of these people, take a few moments to bring them to mind and then heart, repeating the same series of words three times:
    May you be loved, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be at peace.
  • Take your time with each individual, granting them the time and space to be held unconditionally.
  • When you are ready, let the last image fade away and then bring the whole world to your awareness, repeating the same set of words three times:
    May you be loved, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be at peace.
  • Let all images dissolve as you rest in silence for a few more moments. Allow the energy of unconditional love to pass through every cell of the body before slowly returning your attention to the world around you.

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