“Attention is the most basic form of love.
Through it we bless and we are blessed.”
-John Tarrant Roshi
Maitri is a Sanskrit word that means loving kindness. At its root, its essence, it is the wish for ourselves and others to be happy. This is a beautiful and much-needed practice that truly has the power to transform the world and can radically shift your own presence and your own capacity to be kind to others. The formal meditation practice that has been passed down through the Buddhist tradition essentially is offering wishes of loving kindness to five different classes of beings.
- Loving Kindness for yourself
It’s important that we start with ourselves. When beginning, for at least a week, just work with yourself. Because self-kindness, self-compassion, and self-care are the foundation of being truly kind and compassionate and caring for others.
- Loving Kindness for your loved ones
Bring to mind people you love, people you care about–anyone who is close to you.
- Loving Kindness for strangers
Then we move onto strangers–people that are neutral, that you just see walking down the street or with whom you have very little interaction.
- Loving Kindness for difficult people
Then we offer loving-kindness to people who are difficult. In the traditional teachings these are called our “enemies.” These are the people who push our buttons and challenge us. The people that perpetuate the suffering that we see in the world are people that we put in this category.
- Loving Kindness for all beings
The ultimate expression of maitri is this unconditional wish for all beings, without exception, to have happiness.
If you wish to begin a Loving Kindness practice, you may utilize the traditional phrases below. To learn about the four essential stages of Loving Kindness and practical ways to incorporate it into your life, join Kelly Lindsey at the end of March for a live, online six-week deep dive into the practice.
Traditional Loving Kindness Phrases
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be peaceful.
May I live with ease.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be peaceful.
May you live with ease.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be healthy.
May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings live with ease.