kindness or affectionate behavior resulting from or expressing love
So quite the opposite of being critical and/or judgmental of yourself and others.
You may have heard of Metta meditation, otherwise known as loving-kindness meditation. This is a method of developing compassion for oneself and others.
Loving Kindness is an unconditional, inclusive love. It is the strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others where there are no conditions attached.
It does not depend on whether a person deserves kindness or not and is not only practiced with family and friends. Rather it can be shared freely with all living beings and species.
Expectations of any kind are not included!
The most important thing to remember is that this is a process of care and tenderness and is a softening of the mind and heart towards yourself.
Unconditional Loving Kindness must first be shared with yourself if you truly wish to be successful in sharing it with others.
It breaks down the barriers that we inwardly feel about ourselves.
So Let’s begin by practicing loving kindness towards yourself.
It is impossible to genuinely and wholeheartedly extend it to others before our own cup is full. Loving kindness meditation towards yourself is of course designed to make you feel good and so it’s important that you adopt a comfortable and relaxed posture for best results.
If you search the whole world over, you will find no one who is more worthy of metta than yourself. – Buddha
Now focus on your chest area, also thought of as your “heart center”.
Concentrate on breathing in and out deeply from the heart center and become mindful on sensations in this area only.
Try to notice any areas of self-judgment. If and when you become aware of any, move beyond it to that place of self love and adoration. That place of self preservation and security.
Continue breathing in and out for as little or as long as you wish while repeating to yourself quietly or aloud any/or all of the below (or your own chosen phrases) loving kindness meditation phrases…
“May I be happy.”
“May I be free of mental suffering or distress.”
“May I be healthy and energetic.”
“May I be joyful and peaceful wherever I go.”
“May I be safe and secure.”
If you prefer, feel free to choose your own.
You may decide to recite these first thing in the morning before getting out of bed or whilst preparing for the day.
What better way to start any day!
Alternatively, last thing at night, before sleep works very well but any time of the day is fine. More importantly is forming the habit initially.
Don’t be concerned if your loving kindness meditation phrases don’t feel genuine at first. Repeat them anyway.
They will work their magic regardless and after a time, you will see that they come to feel genuine and you will notice profound changes to how you feel on a daily basis.
Give it a try over the next day or so and see how you feel.
Let’s then look into practicing loving kindness towards others (even those you’d rather steer clear of) with the help of our next blog post, coming your way on Sunday!