Lovingkindness for Meditation Monday
Have you ever had one of those Facebook conversations about politics. One of you argues vehemently, one of you sends out data by way of supporting evidence! Neither of you understand the other person’s point of view. Feelings of frustration and anger are the result.
There is however another way. It’s called metta or loving kindness meditation. It can change your life, it can at the very lease relieve you of the hurt and anger surrounding disagreements of this type.
A quick definition, lovingkindness essentially means that you wish someone well. You don’t have to love them (or even like them) but you are choosing (no matter what your feelings) to offer lovingkindness to that person.
Picture someone who bothers you. You feel it, right? That annoyance? Take a breath and, as you let go of your air, say to yourself, “I wish you well, I wish you peace, I wish you lovingkindness.” Do you notice a difference? Letting go of your own aggravation allows you to feel ease within yourself, and you are no longer holding onto thoughts about the other person that affect you negatively.
Here is a simple meditation to practice lovingkindness. Try setting aside a couple moments daily this week for this meditation. With consistent practice, it will become habit to turn away from hostility and anger and toward lovingkindness. Image the possibilities!!
1. Take a comfortable seat. Focus only on your breath, and with your inhale wish yourself lovingkindness. Remind yourself that you do your best and that loving yourself is as important as loving others.
2. Next, picture someone you truly love with your whole heart and wish them lovingkindness. I sometimes imagine hugging that person and sharing a smile with them while looking into their eyes.
3. Now think about someone in your life about whom you have neutral feelings, perhaps it is the person who you see daily at the cafe or market. Wish them lovingkiness.
4. Lastly, picture someone for whom you have negative feelings. It can be someone who wronged you in some way or someone who just bothers you in some way. Do not try to convince yourself to change your feelings about the person but simply wish them well. Imagine that they walk away from you with peace and lovingkindness.
Open your eyes when you feel ready. Notice your breath, how your body feels. Go forward in peace.