Loving Kindness

Loving-Kindness: A Spirit of Life

This Is Why Loving-Kindness Could Change The World!!

Do you ever feel like you could be kinder to others? One of the things that hold lots of people back from embracing kindness, as their way of life, is the misconception that being kind also means being a pushover. 

Culturally, we’ve built up this image of kind people as those who let other people have their way all the time, and never assert their own needs.

But this just isn’t true. Kindness is as much about how you treat YOU as it is about how you treat others and often, the kindest thing to do is to be assertive. 

When you know your own boundaries, and stay firm about them, your relationships become easier and well, less confusing for everyone involved.

Anyway, I digress! What I want to talk about today is Loving-Kindness meditation.

Why do we need Loving-Kindness?

Loving-Kindness is a form of meditation that comes from the Buddhist tradition. It’s based on the idea that when you are able to feel warm feelings towards all beings, you are released from suffering. 

Being kind (and that means actually feeling kindness and thinking kind thoughts) makes you happier.

In her book Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, Sharon Salzberg writes:

“Sometimes we think that to develop an open heart, to be truly loving and compassionate, means that we need to be passive, to allow others to abuse us, to smile and let anyone do what they want with us. Yet this is not what is meant by compassion. 

Quite the contrary. Compassion is not at all weak. It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world.”

 

Kindness and compassion allow us to witness the suffering and struggles of others, or of ourselves, without being afraid. It lets us call out injustices and abuse without waiting for someone else to say it first, and to take confident action to help others. 

This feels so relevant to the times we’re living in; we’re bombarded with messages about the bad things that are going on in the world, and we need tools to help us bear witness to that suffering without becoming overwhelmed by it.

What is Loving-Kindness meditation?

Loving-Kindness meditation is a powerful way to develop this kind of inner kindness. It creates a deep sense of sympathy for everyone (including yourself) and takes away the need to judge others. 

When we receive news or images or situations with kindness, instead of with judgment, the first thought we have changes from ‘what’s wrong with them?’ to ‘how can I help?’

In a nutshell, to practice Loving-Kindness, you focus on warm feelings towards other people during a simple meditation.

Try this three-part Loving-Kindness practice

Do just one of these steps each day, for three days in a row. Then go back to the beginning and repeat for another three days. 

Before each practice, take a few moments to make sure you’re sitting comfortably. Close your eyes, take a few deep, calming breaths; and then begin.

1. Offer warm feelings to someone you love

Bring to mind a person you love. It might be a family member, a friend, a partner — someone you truly care about. 

Hold them in your thoughts. Picture them as if they’re right in front of you. And then, silently in your mind, repeat the following sentence to them three times:

  ⬤  May you be happy, successful, and free from suffering.

 

2. Offer warm feelings to a neutral person

For the second practice, bring to mind a person you have neutral feelings towards. You don’t particularly like them, but you don’t particularly dislike them either. 

They might be a colleague or an acquaintance; someone you don’t have a close relationship with. Picture them as if they’re right in front of you, and repeat the following sentence to them, three times:

  ⬤  May you be happy, successful, and free from suffering.

 

3. Offer warm feelings to a difficult person

Finally, bring to mind someone you find difficult. It could be someone who has hurt you in the past, or someone you really just don’t like, whatever the reason. Picture them as if they’re right there in front of you, and repeat the same sentence to them, three times:

  ⬤  May you be happy, successful, and free from suffering. 

This practice (particularly the third part) might feel uncomfortable, to begin with. But it only takes a minute, and that minute each day can make a huge difference to the kinds of thoughts and feelings that come up in reaction to other people.

STAY HAPPY & STAY KIND
 
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