Photograph by Abe Goodale
Photograph by Abe Goodale
Photograph by Abe Goodale
Photograph by Abe Goodale
Photograph by Abe Goodale
Photograph by Abe Goodale
Photograph by Abe Goodale
Photograph by Abe Goodale

Loving Kindness Meditation

With a loving heart as the background, all that we attempt, all that we encounter will open and flow more easily. Loving kindness meditation uses phrases, images, and feelings to evoke a loving kindness and friendliness toward oneself and others. It is best to begin this practice by meditating for 15 or 20 minutes daily in a quiet place.

Sit in a comfortable fashion. Let your body rest and be relaxed. Let your heart be soft, letting go of plans and preoccupations. Then begin to recite inwardly the following phrases directed to yourself. You begin with yourself because without loving yourself it is almost impossible to love others.

May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.
As you repeat these phrases. You can picture yourself as a young and beloved child, or sense yourself as you are now, held in a heart of loving kindness. Adjust the words and images in any way you need to find exact phrases that best open your heart of kindness. Repeat the phrases over and over again, letting the feelings permeate your body and mind. Practice this meditation for a number of weeks, until the sense of loving kindness for yourself grows.

Be aware that this meditation may at times feel mechanical or awkward or even bring up feelings contrary to loving kindness, feelings of irritation and anger. If this happens, it is especially important to be patient and kind toward yourself, allowing whatever arises to be received in a spirit of friendliness and kind affection.

When you feel you have established some sense of loving kindness, you can then expand your meditation to include others in the same meditation period. After focusing on yourself choose someone in your life who has truly cared for you. Picture this persona and carefully recite the same phrases - May he/she be filled with loving kindness and so forth. When loving kindness for this person has developed, begin to include other people you love in the meditation, picturing each one and reciting the same phrases, evoking a sense of loving kindness for them.

After this you can include others: friends, community members, neighbors, people everywhere, animals, all beings, the whole earth. Then you can even include the difficult people in your life, wishing that they too be filled with loving kindness and peace. In the course of twenty minutes your meditation can open from yourself, to loved ones, you all beings everywhere.

Loving kindness can be practiced anywhere. You can use this meditation in a traffic jam, in buses, and airplanes. As you silently practice this meditation among people, you will immediately feel wonderful sense of connection with the - the power of loving kindness. It will calm your life and keep you connected to your heart.


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