Metta meditation is the cultivation of beautiful qualities of heart, a deep well-wishing for ourselves and others. Metta meditation is done to transform our hearts, transforming the way we see ourselves and others. The qualities of metta that differentiate it from what we usually perceive as love is its boundlessness and unconditionality. The boundlessness of metta means it has infinite reach, and you can love a stranger as much as your closest friends or family members. The unconditionality of metta means there is a deep well-wishing for another's well-being no matter what conditions are present. Metta allows us to be in profound harmony with the truth of our interconnectedness. Metta nourishes our inner well-being, which then colors the ways we experience the world. When there is a lack of nourishment, we tend to seek nourishment from external sources. The Citta (heart-mind) is oriented toward the self, and we see the world through the lens of me.
There are several techniques for practicing metta meditation. Phrases, visualization, kinesthetic sense of the body, or the combination of all three can all be utilized in practice. Having a set of 3-4 phrases that embody well-wishing can be beneficial. Some examples of phrases include May I or you be safe or protected, May I or you be peaceful, May I or you live with ease or kindness, and May I or you be free of Ill-will. Start with wishing yourself well, utilizing your mantras that you have selected. Imagine yourself feeling peaceful, or with ease or kindness. What does that feel like in the body? If nothing is felt, have faith that you are watering the seeds of intention, and the practice is still going well. The intentions of well-wishing are doing its job, and drop by drop, the bucket is being filled. Once you start feeling the metta in the body while wishing yourself well, you go on to a person who is easy to wish well, such as a close loved one. Eventually, you will wish wellness to a neutral acquaintance and then someone you have some ill-will for. After that, try expanding the well-wishing to broader areas, like your neighborhood, city, country, world, and then all sentient beings.