Loving Kindness

loving kindness  Image from yoganonymous.com
Just recently in Mindfulness For Creativity by Dr Dan Penniman I read how doing this short meditation can help to grow your resilience. Below is Tara Brach’s version https://www.tarabrach.com/guided-meditation-metta-lovingkindness/ – 12 minutes long – but it can be a lot shorter than that and you will find many different examples online.
I have been using this meditation a lot recently to help when I am stressed and worried about my own wellbeing or a loved one’s wellbeing, and I always feel better afterwards. If I can’t sleep and I begin this then I tend to fall into a deep sleep. Sending goodwill and positive vibes seems more constructive than worrying….and it has helped me to heal some relationships and forgive some people.
The Dalai Lama approached scientists in the US who were studying depression, fear and anxiety and asked why don’t you study compassion and kindness? This is written about in the book ‘The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live–and How You Can Change The December 24, 2012 by Richard J. Davidson ‘ And lo and behold as they studied these positive emotions they found that the more you practice the loving kindness meditation the more your prefrontal cortex lights up (the mindfulness centre of the brain) and the less your amygdala / emotional part of the brain – fight, flight or freeze response lights up!). I always love it when brain research backs up doing a practice that is 1000 years old and I was doing it because it felt good!!
My preferred version of loving kindness is to first think of a loved one who you find easy to love unconditionally and keeping a vision of them or their written name in mind say silently to yourself:
May you be safe & protected
May you feel at ease and in good health
May you be kind and peaceful
Then to send that loving kindness to yourself by saying:
May I be safe & protected
May I feel at ease and in good health
May I be kind and peaceful
And then widen the circle to include others you would like to include in this wish and say:
May we be safe & protected
May we feel at ease and in good health
May we be kind and peaceful
And as you feel stronger at this you can include your wider community and you can include those people you are finding difficult or need to forgive, eventually!
To me this is the PERFECT meditation as a parent when you are worried about one of your kids or you feel like your connection with them isn’t as positive as you would like….somehow it seems to shift something….so I’ll keep on doing it….At really stressful times I might just say to myself repeatedly ‘may we be safe & protected’ – which feels better than ruminating on the worst case scenario etc.
What about you,are you willing to give it a go? have you experienced it before?
For more info there is a great article by Jack Kornfield at:
Yours in loving kindness, Sara 🙂

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