The meditation practice of ‘Loving Kindness’ is one that I’ve always loved, and I particularly love sharing it with my clients. It is easy, accessible and effective. It has its roots in Buddhism, yet is non-denominational.
Loving kindness allows you to practice self-love regardless of how you currently feel about yourself, your life in general and/or the people in it. And ironically it can fill you with the very things you may unknowingly be craving from others- love and kind words.
The practice of loving kindness is a mantra-based meditation practice that can be used to increase the qualities of kindness and empathy, which in turn lead to happiness.
How to do it
It simply involves mindfully repeating phrases of kind words towards yourself, and then towards others. Here are some words you may want to use:
May I be filled with loving-kindness
May I be well
May I be peaceful and at ease
May I be happy
May he/she be filled with loving-kindness
May he/she be well
May he/she be peaceful and at ease
May he/she be happy
You may also change the words to make them more suitable for you, ie May I / he / she / they be filled with: good health, trust, faith, optimism, courage, joy, surrender, discipline, focus, clarity etc. Whatever resonates with you the most.
As for who you are expressing loving kindness towards, this is the recommended order, repeating the sentences below at least twice to each group:
1) Direct Loving Kindness towards yourself, soaking up the blessings and kind words in your own body, mind and soul.
2) Direct Loving Kindness to someone you deeply care about, ie a friend, partner, relative or a pet.
3) Direct Loving Kindness to someone you feel neutral towards, ie possibly person you took note of earlier in the day, a waiter who made your coffee, someone who’s simply passed you on the street, or anyone else you remember who you have no relationship towards.
4) You may include the phrases directed at someone you have difficulty with, someone you had a fight with or someone you find yourself in disagreement with. Start with someone easy when you are a beginner in this practice. Build up to challenging yourself later.
5) Project the words to a larger group of people, a country in need, poorly treated animals, or the environment.
6) Finally, imagine the whole world is receiving the blessings of Loving Kindness, reciting the words to all living beings.
I personally repeat each section at least twice. You can allocate a certain time for it every day, starting with 5-10 minutes or up to 20 minutes or longer if you like. You can use it whenever you have a moment- on the bus, while you’re waiting for someone, while trying to fall asleep. It is also effective when someone or something has upset you, as a self-soothing technique.
I sincerely hope you enjoy this practice and all it can bring you! When you’re feeling down and disconnected from the world around you, including yourself, it’s an especially wonderful way to move on from from feeling separate and different to everyone else- to a sense of positive unity.
This is a very practical way to help change our behaviour to become more kind and loving over time. After all we’re all in this together- and we can all do with a bit more love and kindness!
Blessings your way,