Loving Kindness Meditation
These are crazy times. The world seems to be erupting in fear. It’s hard to know what to do in the midst of the insanity. Yoga suggest, and gives specific tools, to help clear you mind…to connect to your intelligence…to find a place to be stable. Meditation is one way.
Jon Kabat-Zinn gave this lovely description of meditation as, “intentionally falling awake to how things are in this moment, purposefully, without succumbing to our own reactions and judgments…working wisely with such occurrences with a healthy dose of self-compassion…”
Loving Kindness Meditation (sometimes called “metta” meditation) is one kind of meditation that can provide a path of connection and action. It involves mentally sending goodwill, kindness, and warmth to yourself and others.
The technique is simple. Take a moment to set yourself up for 5-20 minutes (or however much time you have). Commit to some focus your mind for this time to connect to feelings of appreciation, gratitude, and encouragement. Start by focusing on this wish for yourself: “May you be well,” “May you be happy,” “May you be healthy.” Repeat this wish for yourself a few times. Then open the wish to others; those you love, those you know. Challenge yourself to share this wish for those you don’t know, even dislike. Open your mind to share this wish for all beings on the planet.
Research has found that even just a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation increased feelings of social connection and positivity toward novel individuals on both explicit and implicit levels, suggesting that this technique may help to increase positive social emotions and decrease feelings of social isolation (for the data geeks).
For me, this meditation practice gives me a place to do something in the midst of the crazy times, someplace to help when I see so much pain and suffering on the planet. Give it a try. See if it helps for you. Know that I am sending you these wishes to be well, happy, healthy, and to feel connected.