One of the striking things, given that this is the Buddha’s best- known discourse on loving-kindness, is that it is about a third of the way into the sutta before the Buddha even mentions loving- kindness.
I think this is great, in the sense that loving-kindness is to be cultivated, but that there is also that which should be done to get to that point. We need to be skilled in goodness and know the path of peace. “Let them be able and upright, straightforward and gentle in speech.”
This is not just a mental phenomenon. We can’t just grab a feeling of loving-kindness out of the ether of our mental states and hold on to it. No. It arises out of our actions and speech. This is the ground that we need to be attending to: the sense of our actions being able and upright, our speech being straightforward and direct.
This reflection by Luang Por Pasanno is from the book, Abundant, Exalted, Immeasurable, (pdf) p. 65.