#JLT #Life #Stress
Published: August 2016
Have you had a week where you could not get on the same page as someone? Your partner, a co-worker, a mom in your support group, your boss, your neighbor – you just could not agree and for some reason felt so frustrated you just didn’t know what to do.
Metta bhavana, or loving-kindness meditation, is a method of developing compassion. It comes from the Buddhist tradition, but it can be adapted and practiced by anyone, regardless of religious affiliation; loving-kindness meditation is essentially about cultivating love.
The practice is the softening of the mind and heart, an opening to deeper and deeper levels of the feeling of kindness, of pure love. Loving kindness is without any desire to possess another. It is not a sentimental feeling of goodwill, not an obligation, but comes from a selfless place. It does not depend on relationships, on how the other person feels about us. The process is first one of softening, breaking down barriers that we feel inwardly toward ourselves, and then those that we feel toward others.
So how do you practice this?
- Take a very comfortable posture. Begin to focus on your heart center and breathe in and out from this area. Anchor your mindfulness here.
- While breathing in and out, begin generating kind feeling toward yourself. Move past any areas of mental blockage, self-judgment, and drop beneath that toward the pace where we care for ourselves.
- Continue to breathe in and out and repeat to yourself:
- May I be filled with loving kindness.
- May I be safe from inner and outer dangers.
- May I be well in body and mind.
- May I be at ease and happy.
- Next, move on to a person who you love unconditionally and repeat the phrases.
- Next, move on to a person who you are neutral about and repeat the phrases.
- Next, move on to someone you are having difficulty with and repeat the phrases.
Allow the phrases to be simply a conduit for the force of loving-kindness. Empower your imagination through the five phrases to touch the hearts of all forms of life in the universe, unconditionally and inclusively. Stay with all beings until you feel a personal sense of the profound interconnectedness of all creatures, all life.
* Information for this training article was taken from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society website. Read more about this meditation: http://www.contemplativemind.org/practices/tree/loving-kindness