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How to Cultivate Compassion in 2021 with the Loving-Kindness Meditation

The loving-kindness meditation is a foundation for cultivating compassion. Meant to help you be kinder to yourself and others, this meditation will push you to reflect on your prosperities, decrease negative emotions, and increase positive thinking. 

While we may have the best intentions for how we want to interact with others, it’s not always easy. 

This loving-kindness meditation will give you tangible steps to push you to be kinder and foster unconditional, inclusive love.

a couple in the distance - loving-kindness meditation

The Benefits of The Loving-Kindness Meditation

Thinking kind thoughts leads to happiness. 

This meditation will increase your happiness by pushing you to think of others and wish them well. 

By mentally reflecting and sending them good thoughts, you will eventually react more positively to others and think more positively of them—even with those whom you may not know well or have resentment towards.

Studies show that this meditation allows people to focus their attention on others which can play a role in reducing anxiety and depression. 

Starting This Meditation

To start this meditation, find a nice place to relax and reflect. The script below is meant to help guide you through this process. 

This meditation starts with kindness to yourself. Unless we have a measure of this unconditional love and acceptance for ourselves, it’s difficult to extend it to others. 

Through repeating and reflecting on various phrases, we focus our awareness onto those who are most special to us, then to people whom we may not know as well. 

Gradually, both the visualization and the meditation blend into the actual experience: the feeling of loving-kindness.

Here are six steps to get started on this meditation:

Step 1: The Self

First, bring awareness to yourself and receive kindness.  

a woman meditating the loving-kindness meditation
  • May I be free from inner and outer harm and danger. 
  • May I be safe and protected.
  • May I be free of mental suffering or distress.
  • May I be happy.
  • May I be free of physical pain and suffering.
  • May I be healthy and strong.
  • May I be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease.

Step 2: A Loved One

Now, think of a person who invites the feeling of unconditional loving-kindness into your life.

couples reflecting on the loving-kindness meditation

Think of someone that immediately elicits the feeling of care for you. This may be a significant other, a family member, or a relative. 

From there, you’ll repeat the statements above, this time including their name.

  • May _____ be free from inner and outer harm and danger. 
  • May _____ be safe and protected.
  • May _____ be free of mental suffering or distress.
  • May _____ be happy.
  • May _____ be free of physical pain and suffering.
  • May _____ be healthy and strong.
  • May _____ be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease.

Step 3: A Friend

When you’re ready, move on to a person where you regard as a dear friend. This is another person that you care for greatly. 

friends laughing - loving-kindness meditation

Say the phrases to include their name. 

  • May _____ be free from inner and outer harm and danger. 
  • May _____ be safe and protected.
  • May _____ be free of mental suffering or distress.
  • May _____ be happy.
  • May _____ be free of physical pain and suffering.
  • May _____ be healthy and strong.
  • May _____ be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease.

Step 4: Someone You Have Neutral Feelings Towards

Now move to a neutral person, someone for whom you feel neither strong like nor dislike. 

As you repeat the phrases, allow yourself to feel tenderness, loving care for their welfare.

  • May _____ be free from inner and outer harm and danger. 
  • May _____ be safe and protected.
  • May _____ be free of mental suffering or distress.
  • May _____ be happy.
  • May _____ be free of physical pain and suffering.
  • May _____ be healthy and strong.
  • May _____ be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease.
a woman reflecting by the water - loving-kindness meditation

Step 5: Someone You Have Hostile Feelings Against

Now move to someone you have difficulties with. This may be someone you have hostile feelings towards or even resentments. 

  • May _____ be free from inner and outer harm and danger. 
  • May _____ be safe and protected.
  • May _____ be free of mental suffering or distress.
  • May _____ be happy.
  • May _____ be free of physical pain and suffering.
  • May _____ be healthy and strong.
  • May _____ be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease.

If you have difficulty doing this, you can say before the phrases, 

“To the best of my ability, I wish that you be….”

hostile woman - loving-kindness meditation

If you begin to feel ill will toward this person, return to the benefactor and let the loving-kindness arise again. 

Then return to this person.

Step 6: All Beings

After the difficult person, radiate loving kindness out to all beings. Stay in touch with the ember of warm, tender loving-kindness at the center of your being. Begin to visualize or engender a felt sense of all living beings. 

“May all beings in existence be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously…” 

a man raising his arms in the distance - loving-kindness meditation

Empower your imagination to touch the hearts of all forms of life in the universe, unconditionally and inclusively. Stay with “all beings” until you feel a personal sense of the profound interconnectedness of all creatures, all life.

Then you can move on to specific categories of beings:

  • All awakened ones.
  • All seekers.
  • All celestial beings.
  • All humans.
  • All animals and other beings in difficult places.

Finishing The Loving-Kindness Meditation

Take a deep breath in. Then breathe out. You have successfully finished the Loving-Kindness Meditation.

How do you feel? Do you notice a change in yourself? 

While you may not feel a change immediately, this reflection is a start to you approaching life with more compassion and kindness. You can always save this meditation to reference regularly or when you need a little boost of loving-kindness! 


Whether you’re new to meditating or love to meditate, this is a great way to stay present and reflect. There’s no better way to start your meditations than on a meditation vacation.

To get started on your meditative journey on a wellness vacation or learn more about our spiritual retreats, please email us at bookingsupport@vacayou.com or send us a live chat. We are here to help create a healthier global community through wellness and active travel.

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