True friendship can afford true knowledge.
It does not depend on darkness and ignorance.
The essence of loving kindness is being able to offer happiness; to be the sunshine for another person. But you can’t offer happiness until you have it for yourself. So build a home inside by accepting yourself and learning to love and heal yourself. Learn how to practice mindfulness in such a way that you can create moments of happiness and joy for your own nourishment. Then you have something to offer the other person. When we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love. That’s why to love means to learn the art of nourishing our happiness.
What happens to your loved one happens to you. What happens to you happens to your loved one. If you have enough understanding and love, then every moment — whether it’s spent making breakfast, driving the car, watering the garden, or doing anything else in your day — can be a moment of joy. Often, we get crushes on others not because we truly love and understand them, but to distract ourselves from our suffering. When we learn to love and understand ourselves and have true compassion for ourselves, then we can truly love and understand another person.
If you pour a handful of salt into a cup of water, the water becomes undrinkable. But if you pour the salt into a river, people can continue to draw the water to cook, wash, and drink. The river is immense, and it has the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform. When our hearts are small, our understanding and compassion are limited, and we suffer. We can’t accept or tolerate others and their shortcomings, and we demand that they change. But when our hearts expand, these same things don’t make us suffer anymore. We have a lot of understanding and compassion and can embrace others. We accept others as they are, and then they have a chance to transform.
So how do we practice loving kindness meditation? As with any meditation practice, take a comfortable and alert sitting posture with your back straight but relaxed. Gently close your eyes. Turn the mind toward noticing the breath.
Begin practicing loving kindness meditation on yourself (“May I be peaceful . . .”). Until you are able to love and take care of yourself, you can’t be much help to others. After that, practice on others (“May he/she/you be peaceful . . .”) – first on someone you like, then on someone neutral to you, then on someone you love and finally on someone the mere thought of whom makes you suffer. After practicing metta meditation, you may find you can think of them with genuine compassion.
May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.
May I be safe and free from injury.
May I be free from greed, hatred and fear
May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love.
May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.
May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving and delusion in myself.
May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.
May I be able to live fresh, solid and free.
May I be free from attachment and aversion, but not be indifferent.
Thich Nhat Hanh, Transformation and Healing