Loving Kindness

February 2, 2017

 

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and it is a wonderful time of year to show yourself love, and those around you. Especially now, keeping positive thoughts in our mind towards ourselves and others during a time of uncertainty allows us to open our hearts to ourselves and the world around us.

 

When heart is open and receptive we are in the world in a loving and compassionate manner. By practicing a loving kindness meditation we cultivate love towards everything we encounter – it is a state of being that is felt within us.

 

Try out this Loving Kindness Meditation:

 

1. Find a supportive and comfortable seat. Begin by taking three deep breaths with slow, complete exhalations.

 

2. Start by offering love to yourself. Repeat to yourself the following phrases:

May I be happy

May I be well

May I be safe

May I be peaceful and at ease

 

While you say these phrases, allow yourself to sink into the intentions they express. Loving-kindness meditation consists primarily of connecting to the intention of wishing ourselves or others happiness. If feelings of warmth, friendliness, or love arise in the body or mind, connect to them, allowing them to grow as you repeat the phrases.

 

3. Now bring to mind an image of someone in your life who has deeply cared for you. Holding an image of them in your mind’s eye helps to reinforce the intentions expressed in the phrases. Repeat phrases of loving-kindness toward them:


May you be happy

May you be well

May you be safe

May you be peaceful and at ease

 

As you say these words, again sink into their intention or heartfelt meaning. And, if any feelings of loving-kindness arise, connect the feelings with the phrases so that the feelings may become stronger as you repeat the words.

 

4. Now bring to mind someone who is a stranger in your life, someone you hardly know. Allow it to be the first person who came to mind. Holding an image of them in your mind’s eye helps to reinforce the intentions expressed in the phrases. Repeat phrases of loving-kindness toward them:


May you be happy

May you be well

May you be safe

May you be peaceful and at ease

 

5. Now bring to mind someone who is an enemy or a person who gives you difficulty in your life. Allow it to be the first person who came to mind. Holding an image of them in your mind’s eye helps to reinforce the intentions expressed in the phrases. Repeat phrases of loving-kindness toward them:
 

May you be happy

May you be well

May you be safe

May you be peaceful and at ease

 

Sometimes during loving-kindness meditation, seemingly opposite feelings such as anger, grief, or sadness may arise. Take these to be signs that your heart is softening, revealing what is held there. You can either shift to mindfulness practice or you can—with whatever patience, acceptance, and kindness you can muster for such feelings—direct loving-kindness toward them. Above all, remember that there is no need to judge yourself for having these feelings.

 

6. Now offer loving kindness to all beings:

 

May you be happy

May you be well

May you be safe

May you be peaceful and at ease

 

Deepen your breath and keep your eye closed.

 

 

 

Once you have completed you can repeat steps 1-6 or sit quietly to reflect on the emotions you have discovered. Be kind to yourself and if the first time you try you find you can get through steps 1-3, but no further, just try again another day.

 

The loving-kindness meditation doesn’t have to be just done at home when you are alone. When you are out on the streets continue to repeat the visualizations, kind reflections, or mantra in order to cultivate the feeling of loving-kindness within. As it grows stronger within you it will emanate out to those around you.

 

PS you can also keep this meditation in mind as you knit. Send some loving kindness into your hand-knits!

 

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