How a simple practice can transform our lives.
Loving kindness is an act that brings joy and pleasure both to the receiver and the giver, it has a double effect. We all know how good it feels to see the eyes of a child, lover or friend light up when we give them a special, thoughtful gift or make an effort to do something to help them. We also know how good it feels in our own hearts to know we showed love and kindness to someone we care about. It works on strangers too, it feels good to buy from a Big Issue seller in town or help an overloaded mother with her pram, an elderly person cross the road. The more we practice kindness the better we feel and we are doing a service too, helping bring a little light and love into the world everywhere we go.
Taking this simple act a step further and looking at the Buddhist practice of Loving Kindness, helps us to deeply heal and release suffering from our present and our past.
This spiritual practice isn’t just about material giving and receiving, it is about feeling loving kindness to all living beings no matter what. This isn’t always easy and in our society we are conditioned to feel that we should hold on to grudges, to be unforgiving to those who have hurt us and to build a wall around our hearts to prevent future hurt or suffering. Deep inside us there is a wisdom that is calling us to let go and find love, forgiveness, compassion and kindness and that by doing so we will be released from our pain.
Here is a meditation on Loving Kindness that you can do quietly with yourself to help to clear your heart of old burdens, unleash love and bring a smile to your face:
- Find a quiet place to sit, make sure you won’t be disturbed for at least 10-15 minutes. Repeat each line of the meditation out loud or mentally to yourself, the first time say the words using ‘I’ directed towards yourself and each subsequent time use ‘you’.
- Second time think of someone you like and respect a great deal.
- Third time think of someone you feel fairly neutral about.
- Forth time think of someone who really irritates you.
- Fifth time someone who has really hurt you either recently or in the past.
- Finally think of your village, your country and then the whole world and all who live in it, particularly those in cultures that we do not know or understand.
- May I/you be well, healthy and strong
- May I/you be happy
- May I/you abide in peace
- May I/you feel safe and secure
- May I/you feel loved and cared for
If you find it difficult to say these words whilst thinking of someone who has deeply hurt you, just make a resolve to try again another time in the future and leave it there.
Enjoy this meditation and bringing the practice of Loving Kindness into your life.