Practicing Loving Kindness Meditation

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am partial to a type of meditation called “Loving Kindness”.  I have recently discovered that this type of meditation is recommended for resiliency, reducing cortisol levels and stress reduction.
Excerpted from an article by Steven Smith an advisor for the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and found at:   http://www.contemplativemind.org/practices/tree/loving-kindness

Loving Kindness Meditation comes from the Buddhist tradition, but it can be adapted and practiced by anyone, regardless of religious affiliation.  LKM is a meditation of care, concern, tenderness, compassion, friendship–a feeling of warmth for oneself and others. The practice is the softening of the mind and heart to barriers that we feel inwardly toward ourselves, and then those that we feel toward others.

To practice LKM:

Begin to focus around the solar plexus, your “heart center”.

Breathing in and out from the heart center, begin by generating this kind feeling toward yourself. Feel any areas of mental blockage or numbness, self-judgment, self-hatred.

Then drop beneath that to the place where we care for ourselves, where we want strength and health and safety for ourselves.

Continuing to breathe in and out, use either these traditional phrases or ones you choose yourself. Say or think them several times.

  • May I be free from inner and outer harm and danger. May I be safe and protected.
  • May I be free of mental suffering or distress.
  • May I be happy.
  • May I be free of physical pain and suffering.
  • May I be healthy and strong.
  • May I be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease.

Next, move to a person who most invites the feeling of pure unconditional loving kindness;  usually someone we consider a mentor, a benefactor, an elder. (e.g. a parent, grandparent, teacher, someone toward whom it takes no effort to feel respect and reverence, someone who immediately Next, move to a person you regard as a dear friend and repeat the phrases again, breathing in and out of your heart center.

Then move to a neutral person, someone for whom you feel neither strong like nor dislike. As you repeat the phrases, allow yourself to feel tenderness, loving care for their welfare.

Next move to someone you have difficulty with–hostile feelings, resentments. Repeat the phrases for this person. I

Let the phrases spread through your whole body, mind, and heart.

Finally, radiate loving kindness out to all beings. Stay in touch with the ember of warm, tender loving-kindness at the center of your being, and begin to visualize or engender a felt sense of all living beings. The traditional phrases are these:

  • May all beings be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously…..
  • May all living beings be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously…..
  • May all breathing beings be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously…..
  • May all individuals be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously…..
  • May all beings in existence be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously…..

Allow the phrases to be simply a conduit for the force of loving-kindness. Empower your imagination through the five phrases to touch the hearts of all forms of life in the universe, unconditionally and inclusively. Stay with all beings until you feel a personal sense of the profound interconnectedness of all creatures, all life.

I hope you will enJOY this type of practice if you try it.  Namaste’

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