The loving kindness meditation is one of the most popular meditation techniques. The basic focus of the loving kindness meditation is to focus benevolent and loving energy toward oneself and toward others. The benefits of the loving kindness meditation are clear: practitioners experience all the regular benefits of meditation, which are numerous and far-reaching, as well as the warm feelings of, well, loving kindness, which brings its own benefits. The following is a simple and effective loving kindness meditation technique to try.
Time Required: At Least 5 Minutes
- Carve out some quiet time for yourself (even a few minutes will work) and sit comfortably. Close your eyes, relax your muscles, and take a few deep breaths. (See this article on deep breathing for more specific instructions on this.)
- Imagine yourself experiencing perfect 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.
- 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 healthy, peaceful, and strong.
- May I give and receive appreciation today.
- Bask in that feeling for a few moments. If your attention drifts to something else, gently redirect it back to these feelings of loving kindness.
- 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. Including those with whom you are in conflict (a "frenemy" or someone toward whom you feel resentment or anger) 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.
- First practice this meditation with yourself as the subject, and move on to those who are easy for you to envelop with loving kindness. Directing the loving kindness meditation toward difficult people in your life brings real benefits in forgiveness and letting go of rumination, but it may take more practice.
- You may want to set a timer if you're concerned about spending too much time in meditation, especially at first.
- This meditation can be practiced in many different ways. This is just a suggestion. You may come up with your own loving kindness meditation technique that works particularly well for you--simply be sure to focus your attention in a way that promotes feelings of loving kindness.
What You Need:
- A comfortable place.
- A few minutes.
- A willing heart.