The loving kindness meditation has become an increasingly popular form of meditation and for great reason. Those who practice loving-kindness meditation regularly are able to increase their capacity for forgiveness, connection to others, self-acceptance, compassion and more. By practicing Love and Kindness Meditation your stress levels will decrease and you will begin to notice an overall feeling of happiness and more peace throughout your day.
The Dalai Lama has been quoted as saying, “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” And indeed, it seems that in fact, with a little practice, LKM has the potential not only to improve our connection with ourselves, but to foster deeper connection and care for others as well.
I personally was introduced to Love & Kindness meditation through the teachings of Sharon Salzbarg and Noah Levine who are both teachers of the Vipasanna (insight) and Metta (loving-kindness) methods, which originated from the Buddhist traditions. With incorporating the Love and Kindness techniques, I notice a beautiful shift within and how I related to others with compassion and patience. Soon after incorporating LKM to my practice,I noticed the way I began to greet others felt different and it felt natural and innate without having to think about it. I typically mediate for 30 minutes so usually during the last 7 minutes of my meditation, I incorporate Love and Kindness practice.
How to practice Love and Kindness Meditation
Carve out some quiet time for yourself and sit comfortably. Relax your shoulders, close your eyes, relax your muscles, and take a few deep breaths.
Imagine yourself experiencing complete physical and emotional wellness and inner peace. Imagine feeling perfect love for yourself, thanking yourself for all that you are, knowing that you are just right, just as you are. Focus on this feeling of inner peace, and visualize that you are breathing out tension and breathing in feelings of love.
Repeat 3 or 4 positive, reassuring phrases to yourself. There are several that work, but I like and recommend the following:
May I be happy.
May I be safe.
May I be free of suffering.
May I be healthy, peaceful, and strong.
May I give and receive appreciation today.
Relax into that feeling for a few moments. If your attention drifts to something else, gently redirect it back to these feelings of loving kindness. Let these feelings envelop you.
You can choose to either stay with this focus for the duration of your meditation or begin to shift your focus to loved ones in your life. Begin with someone who you are very close to–either a spouse, a child, a parent, or a best friend. Feel your gratitude and love for them. Stay with that feeling. You may want to repeat the following phrases or similar ones that bring about feelings of loving kindness within you:May you be happy.
May you be safe.
May you be healthy, peaceful, and strong.
May you give and receive appreciation today.
Once you’ve held these feelings toward that person, bring other important people from your life into your awareness, one by one, and envision them with perfect wellness and inner peace. Then branch out to other friends and family, then neighbors and acquaintances, even other groups of people around the world. You can extend these feelings of loving kindness to to people in other countries around the globe and focus on a feeling of connection and compassion. You can also Include those with whom you are in conflict) can help you to reach a place of forgiveness or greater peace.
When your meditation is complete (which is whenever you decide), open your eyes and remember that you can revisit that wonderful feeling throughout the day. Memorize how the loving kindness meditation feels, and revisit this feeling with just a few deep breaths and a shift in focus throughout the day.