Metta is a type of devotional meditation in which your intention is a “strong wish for the happiness of others.” Traditionally, the meditation comprises of five stages or “layers”, in which we wish loving-kindness upon:
- A loved one
- A neutral acquaintance
- A difficult person (prepare for struggle)
- All living beings on earth
Dwelve into a guided loving-kindness meditation here:
Metta can prime brain circuitry based on outwardly compassionate living. To demonstrate this, Stanford University hosted the first ever “love competition” (click to watch) by asking seven contestants, each with their own unique back stories, to love as hard as they can for five minutes. While each of these subjects released their own personal strategies with deep concentration, an f.M.R.I. machine was used to measure activation of their dopamine-seretonin-oxytocin pathways, regions of the brain associated with feelings of love and compassion. The subjects came out exhilarated, bursting with gratefulness, warmth, and joy, overcome with different revelations of their own.