Often at the end of a yoga class during our final relaxation (shavasana) I will lead the students through a guided loving kindness meditation. I do this because I have found this practice to have such a profound effect on my own life. Practicing loving kindness--even for a few minutes a day-- helps me to develop compassion for myself and to get out of a negative state of mind.
I'll give you a quick synopsis and then some links to read or listen to the meditation yourself:
First sit in a meditation seat or in any comfortable manner with a straight spine. Tune into your breath, feeling it go in and out. Notice what is happening in your body and mind, the sensations, the thoughts.
Then take your awareness to your heart center and feel the sensations there. Breathe some space into your chest. Picture yourself sitting (or lying) here. Picture what you're wearing and the position of your body and then say to yourself: May I be at peace. May I be happy. May I be free... (you can change these phrases to whatever feels right to you as long as you're cultivating loving kindness).
Notice any resistance, judgment or tension that arises and let it be. Allow yourself to open to the feelings of loving kindness. Let the feelings wash over you.
Then begin to extend the thoughts of loving kindness toward other beings-- allowing a mental picture of the person/people/beings to arise first. Repeat the phrases for each being or group of beings
...May they be happy. May they be at peace. May they be free.
Start with someone that you love dearly and move onto someone who challenges you. Next extend this loving kindness to people that you don't know, allowing the group to grow until it encompasses all sentient beings.
Be sure to repeat the phrases at each step and give time to allow yourself to open, and allow the feelings to wash over you.
After extending loving kindness to all beings, I like to bring it back in to your own heart. Again, picture yourself and end with repeating the phrases to yourself. May I be happy, May I be at peace, May I be free.
If at any point you are doubting, resisting, scoffing, judging, etc., go back to the phrases. The loving kindness will come eventually, even if you're not feeling it.
After all, as zen teacher, Cheri Huber says, What You Practice is What You Have.
May we all be happy. May we be at peace. May we be free.
Loving Kindness script by teacher Stephen Levine
script from Wisdom Heart.org
Guided loving kindness meditation--mp3 (there are a lot on the interwebs, this is just one example)