Want to develop more kindness for yourself, for your loved ones, even for people you can’t stand? Starting a practice of lovingkindness (known in the Buddhist tradition as metta), can help. The good news is you don’t have to be an expert meditator to try it; you can add it to your existing routine, or use it as an entry point into a new practice.

To learn more, we spoke with expert Sharon Salzberg. She’s a co-founder of the esteemed Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the best-selling author of many books, including Lovingkindness. (Her newest book, Real Love, comes out in June.)

We asked Salzberg about the benefits of lovingkindness meditation, and how it relates to mindfulness in general. “To be mindful means to have a kind of interested, balanced awareness of what’s happening to us,” she explains. “But because our inner critic may be very strong, mindfulness is not that easy to accomplish. For a lot of people, doing a practice like lovingkindness can...

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