Loving-Kindness Meditation

This is a meditation practice that does not demand any special training. People of all walks of life have practiced. In recent times, there has been research on the effects of this practice and these strongly suggest very positive effects for those who practice regularly.


The article I link at the end of this page offers a little bit more background on the practice. Read it with care. Practice everyday. Feel free to modify. Just like with yoga, pay attention to what feels right for you. Don’t do anything that would move you down your nervous system ladder.

Guidelines

Determine a set time of the day when you do this practice. The beginning and end of the day works well. Start with 2-3 minutes and overtime, expand your sessions depending on your needs.

Sit comfortably and practice your freedom breath, finding the pause at the end of each exhale.

Begin the practice by thinking of someone who has helped you in some way, someone who has cared for you and has been your benefactor. Say their name to yourself. Imagine a conversation with them where you greet them and wish them well. This could be a family member, a friend, or even a non-human animal. Imagine that person (being) next to you.

Recite the following phrases to your benefactor who stands in your imagination. Do so slowly and with intention.


May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you live with ease.

As you repeat these phrases, you may or may not feel emotions arise. Notice these, but don’t get caught up with them. Let them flow through you.

Keep coming back to your breath. Keep it flowing. Continue the practice imagining the benefactor who is standing by your side doing the same for you. Imagine this action by you repeating the phrases to yourself quietly.

May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you live with ease.

Notice any emotions that come up but don’t try to analyze these. Just let them flow.

We continue the practice by imagining someone you feel neutral to, someone you have seen and maybe interacted but that you don’t have a strong connection one way or another. You don’t need to know their name. Imagine the person and wish them the same thing:

May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you live with ease.


This last step is one that you take with care. If you find that you are not ready, don’t do this one. Keep in mind that this is not a practice that is calling for forgiveness or for you to feel one thing or another.
Imagine someone who is difficult for you to be around. Initially, imagine someone who is not that problematic. I would not attempt to do this right away with someone who has hurt me deeply. Just like before, imagine that person and calmly recite in you mind the same phrases:

May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you live with ease.

Notice any emotional responses and as before, don’t linger with them. Let them flow. Continue your freedom breath as when you started.
Finally, imagine all beings, a whole universe full. Your last step in this meditation is to wish everyone the same thing:

May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you live with ease.

Please read the following article on loving-kindness meditation by respected meditation teacher, Sharon Salzberg. Write a response to the article in your notebook.