The power of love to heal our bodies

Metta heals mind and body

In this post, I want to share from my own practice how metta, or loving-kindness meditation, not only heal minds, it can bless and heal bodies as well.

When a loved one is sick or injured, doing metta, or loving-kindness prayers, for them, is a powerful antidote to fear.  It frees the heart and mind, thereby blessing our loved ones and their dear bodies.

My own experience and observation is that there seems to be more to this healing than the now well-established fact of a mind/body connection.  My experience is that metta, unconditional love, brings us into line with a power that’s not contingent, not conditional, not limited in its very nature.

But don’t take my word for it.  See for yourself.  Give loving-kindness a chance to work in your own life and the lives of those you love and see what happens.

First, metta for yourself

If we have a sick child, or pet, or family member, or friend, and we want to help with our loving-kindness prayers, the very first person to give metta to is ourself!   To help heal another, we first have to heal ourselves.

So, go to a quiet place, sit down, follow your breath, and when you’ve gained some measure of quiet, then begin sending yourself loving thoughts: “I know I am fearful about my child, (pet, family member, friend). My dear fearful heart, may you be at peace.  May I feel the power of love to calm me, and may I trust in that power.”  Have compassion for yourself and your worries as a fearful parent. Love and cherish yourself for having such a good and caring heart.

The words you may say in metta don’t matter so much as the intent to love yourself and take care of your fear, not rejecting it, but holding it and you compassionately, with a trust in love’s power.  Metta should always be spontaneous and not rote or formulaic. Metta is a thing of the heart, of our deepest hopes and aspirations, not of words.

Next, metta for your loved one

When we feel we’ve loved ourselves, and gained some measure of equanimity through the power of that love, then we can much more effectively send loving-kindness to our little ones.  Because we love them so much, the outpouring of our hearts toward them is the most natural thing in the world.  The problem is getting fear out of the way so our love flows fully and freely, and that’s why we start with metta for ourselves.

As for the metta for the sick or injured one, just open your heart toward the child, pet, family member or friend, and let the words come as they will:  “My dear, beloved child, may you be free of this (fever, flu, injury, whatever) and may you be healed.  May your dear body respond to this love and may you be free.  May you be free of pain, may you be whole and well…..”

When fear pops us, stop and deal with it

Again, these particular phrases are just to give a feel for the work, not as a formula or mantra.  Trust your own heart to supply the thoughts and words of loving-kindness to send you’re your little one. And here’s an important point:  if at any point in your metta for the child, or in turning your thought to the child, you get overwhelmed with fear and concern, stop!  Stop right there, and give yourself metta until your own fears are compassionately tended to.  Then with great love and courage, go back to sending your child your aspiration and great love for his or her healing.

Metta is not a filibuster

But note, metta isn’t a filibuster!  It’s not about how much or how long you pray or send loving thoughts.  When you’ve gained some measure of peace about your loved one, then let everything go. Trust the love to do its stuff.  It will have an effect—first, on you, then on the loved one.  If from time to time, you feel the need to give more metta, do so, but again, it’s not about quantity, but quality.

Of course, you want to keep your loved one in a loving embrace of your thought—that’s natural.  By your loving words and actions to make the loved one comfortable and happy, you continue your metta by simply by being your loving, caring self.  And remember, loving-kindness is not about you.  It’s not about what you think of yourself as a parent or friend.

Metta isn’t self-hypnosis or positive thinking

The power of loving-kindness comes through you, but it’s not a personal creation.  This kind of unconditional love comes from the very heart of the universe, from your best nature.  It’s not self-hypnosis or autosuggestion for your child!  Metta is positive, but is way, way, WAY more than mere positive thinking.  It’s an honest, deep, hopeful outpouring of the heart and is at one with loving thoughts and intentions of all beings everywhere.

Now send your love to all beings everywhere

Finally, when you’ve taken care of your own heart, and have feel love embracing your own child or loved one, why not expand that love to others?  With great empathy and compassion, we know how other parents and caretakers may feel when a loved one is ill.  What could be more natural than to send them your loving well-wishes as well?  And not only to them, but to all sick or injured beings everywhere?

In the metta sutta (sutra, or teaching) the Buddha said, “As a mother, at the risk of her life, watches over her only child, let her cherish an unbounded mind, for all living beings…”  This kind of love is called the divine abiding—abiding in great, limitless, unconditional care and love for all.

There is great power in boundless love, not only to heal our hearts, but to heal our bodies and others as well.

See also:

Seeding the Heart: Loving-kindness Practice with Children

Healing Hands, Healing Heart by Marie Finnegan


About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

7 Responses to “The power of love to heal our bodies”

  1. Reading this again fills me with so much universal good stuff, I think I’ll pass up Christmas and enjoy my presents right here.

    Thanks for this presentation. Have already passed it on to others.

    michael j

    • Gee, thanks, Michael J! I’m so glad this is post is helpful. Metta practice is indeed wonderful and deep. And anyone can do it. I try to share only what comes straight out of my life and practice, because that’s the only authenticity. Steve


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