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Monday Mantra for Loving Kindness

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

This week's Monday Mantra is for loving kindness - not just loving kindness for ourselves and those we love, or even for the abstract "everyone", but also, and perhaps especially, for those we know and dislike!

This concept crops up in lots of cultures and religions - the idea that we need to make a special effort to include those we don’t like or who we think ill of, or hold a grudge against.

I first came across this during my first year at university. I was studying Comparative World Religion, and during one of the first Buddhism modules, we were invited to take part in a Metta Bhavana meditation. I hadn’t heard of it before and we weren’t told what to expect. In the lecture theatre, being asked to send loving kindness to ourselves, and then our loved ones was nice and comfortable.

But then came part three. Send loving kindness to someone, an individual we were asked to name in our head, who we didn’t get on with. That was not comfortable. I knew who it would be. I can still picture her now. She happened to be sitting in front of me in the theatre. She lived in the room above me in our halls of residence. She stamped loudly when she danced around her room and played ABBA at a volume that could be heard in the local village. There wasn’t much about her I did like to be honest, and she felt much the same about me. It seemed obvious to choose her. And I struggled with that meditation. I did it, but I argued with myself about it all the while!

I’ve taught that meditation many time over the years. I’ve come across it in other guises too - most recently during my Chakrascension training. And guess what? I still struggled with that bit. The person had changed, but the struggle had not. I think it might be fair to say I can hold a grudge!

However, during this mantra, I did manage to send that loving kindness to a few people I’d rather avoid, and a couple of people I really don’t like. I wish them well.

Here’s the mantra in case you’d like to give it a try yourself.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Loh-kah sam-ah-star soo-keen-oh bar-van-too

May all beings everywhere be happy and free

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