Healing & Well-Being

Loving-Kindness Meditation: A Guide for Christians

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Date Published:
August 20, 2021

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Summary

Loving-kindness meditation (LKM) is a form of self-help Christians can use to silence any negative self-talk that may be plaguing them in the back of their minds. 

LKM emphasizes values promoted by Our Lord Jesus Christ, including love, empathy, mindfulness, and self-compassion.

Loving-kindness meditation (LKM) is a type of guided meditation that is rooted in positive psychology and promotes feelings of goodwill, calm, and well-being. It also decreases feelings of anxiety and negativity. 

Loving-kindness meditation is a wonderful way to increase positivity in your life, yet the practice of loving yourself and others is sometimes challenging. Regular practice helps this become easier.

In this article, we will look at loving-kindness meditation in Christianity, how LKM benefits our health, as well as how to implement this form of meditation into our daily routine to increase our positive outlook on life.

Loving-kindness meditation and Christianity

Loving-kindness meditation is not a new concept, nor is it practiced just by Christians. LKM is also known as metta meditation. 

The word “metta” comes from the Pali language and means “love,” but not in a romantic sense. This type of love is more closely related to friendship and compassion.

Metta is a form of meditation that is practiced in Buddhist traditions. Despite going by a different name, the concept of positive energy and goal of kindness towards yourself and others in your life are the same.

Buddhist monk walking away

LKM focuses on basic human feelings of love, compassion, empathy, and kindness. But, sometimes it can feel hard to give and receive love easily, even to ourselves. However, Jesus provides Christians with a powerful example of the importance of love and compassion.

For those living with strong Christian values, this may make starting a daily LKM practice more appealing. The Christian community understands that there is no shame in asking Jesus for guidance as we practice a form of self-healing.  

The Bible emphasizes the importance of such positive emotions in 1 Corinthians 13:4–8a: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.”  

Another main goal of LKM is to decrease negative feelings about yourself and others. Once again, this is something we should already be embracing in the Christian community, but we are just human after all, and sometimes we need help.

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The benefit of LKM on mental health

The goal of this type of meditation is to create positive emotions and feelings within our daily lives. LKM helps us to build the skills of forgiveness and self-acceptance, enabling us to open our hearts and to connect better to others.

The benefits of meditation are broad. The practice of loving-kindness meditation has proven beneficial in supporting mental health conditions such as borderline personality, which is characterized by having instability in relationships, one's mood, and self-image. 

This form of meditation can increase positive self-reflection as well as improve how you see the world around you. LKM practice can also reduce the negativity that may have once overwhelmed your life.

LKM also increases your emotional intelligence, also known as your EQ. A notable increase in social connections and emotions such as empathy and compassion will occur, while factors such as self-criticism and judgment of others will decrease.

Woman meditating on bed

Other ways this form of meditation can assist in mental health are by lowering social anxiety, decreasing anger, encouraging stress reduction, and reducing conflict within marriages.

Practicing LKM can also help cope with the anxiety that goes hand in hand with long-term healthcare and caregiving, whether it's for a loved one or caregiving as a profession.

LKM practice has also demonstrated the potential to decrease depression, PTSD, and even schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. In terms of physical ailments, LKM has proven to decrease the physical symptoms of chronic pain, tension, and migraines.

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Implementing LKM in your daily life

Implementing a loving-kindness meditation practice into your life isn't as complicated as other forms of mindfulness meditation may lead you to believe. 

You do not need to invest in expensive equipment or self-help books and videos. You do not need hours of silence to accomplish your daily session. Instead, you merely need a quiet space to spend an average of 15 minutes a day to implement this wellness practice.

Instead of laying down during your meditation time, this form of self-care involves you taking a seated position. 

Your feet should be rooted firmly on the ground and your back straight against the chair. Unlike other forms of meditation, this one is not guided by a mediator or a voice on a tape.

Instead of listening to someone else, you focus your mind on inner peace and love for yourself. 

Visualization is very important. See yourself acting with compassion towards yourself and others. Hear yourself using kind words. 

Take deep breaths; breathe in feelings of loving-kindness, and exhale all of the negativity in your life and the tension it causes you.

Woman in sunshine with flowers

In your mind, repeat positive metta meditation phrases; these can also be viewed as affirmations. These phrases should grow your inner sense of positivity and love.  

Such phrases can include:

  • May I enjoy this day and every day.
  • May I be happy with myself and all of who I am.
  • May I embrace the things I cannot change and release the tension they cause me.
  • May I be healthy and be free from mental and physical pain.
  • May everyone I come into contact with today be happy.

Be mindful of your affirmations, and let them sink into every inch of your being. Repeat them in your mind as you sit quietly, absorbing their words and their meaning deep within you. 

As you practice these meditation exercises, you should be able to see a change in your thought process.

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Changing your inner dialogue

As Christians, we may experience shame if we do not have self-love or if we find having love for others a challenge. Do not be embarrassed, we are just human after all! 

With the help of Our Lord Jesus Christ to guide us, we can begin loving-kindness meditation as a way to help us change our inner voice and replace it with kind thoughts.  

There are many benefits to practicing LKM, one of the biggest being silencing your inner critic. We can all relate to that voice in the back of our minds that we aren't good enough. 

Yet through LKM practice, we can change our inner dialogue and focus on more positive emotions as well as a more positive self-image.

For more information on other meditations Christians can use in their daily lives, download the Pray.com app on the iOS App Store and Google Play.

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