I am grateful that today I was in the company of healers, energy workers, therapeutic touch practitioners, and wellness educators at the Holistic Health and Healing Expo.
All the positive vibrations, love and charity was filling our space all day long. You couldn’t help but smile.
And I was so moved by the address Ukrainian President Zelensky made to the US Congress this past Wednesday that it has stuck with me all week. And so have the images from the graphic video he shared of the atrocities his country has suffered. I admire his and the people of Ukraine for their bravery.
And I keep returning to a particularly compassionate type of meditation you may be familiar with that is so apt for these unsettling times – lovingkindness. The Ukrainian people, the world, you, and I need a safe place right now. A space that keeps our hearts open, despite the pain.
Lovingkindness is just such a place. I first read about it back in 2003 when a dear friend lent me a book by Sharon Salzberg – Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness to read. and it really woke something up in me that I never forgot. It made me engage my loving heart, and not be afraid, even during difficult times. Better to be curious and compassionate than angry and closed.
Essentially, lovingkindness or Metta meditation is a Buddhist-based practice designed to open our hearts to ourselves and others, following the principles of the four heavenly abodes: love, compassion, joy and equanimity. Other words similar to lovingkindness are tenderness, mercy and compassion; for ourselves, for others, and for the world. And that is so needed right now.
The meditation practice is simple -deceptively so. The key is to fully feel while stating the phrases, whether silently or out loud.
Here is a basic outline for you to try if you would like.
Sit or lie down – get comfortable. Take in 3 full deep breaths, exhaling slowly to relax and center yourself.
First, focus tenderly on yourself with these phrases:
May I be happy.
May I be healthy in body & mind.
May I feel safe & protected from inner and outer harm.
May I be at peace.
Next, move on to someone you love, and focus these loving thoughts on that individual, envisioning how much you love and care for her/him or even your pet.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy in body & mind.
May you feel safe & protected from inner and outer harm.
May you be at peace.
Now, pick a neutral person to focus the same loving thoughts on (ex: a store clerk or someone you have no prior judgment of). Still fairly easy.
Here comes the hard part. Select someone you have a negative or difficult relationship with and send these same loving phrases out to that person. Not so easily done but do your best.
And, finally send out these warm, loving and compassionate thoughts to all living things in this world. Try to envision the entire planet and focus on these phrases one more time.
May all living creatures be happy.
May all living creatures be healthy in body & mind.
May all living creatures feel safe & protected from inner and outer harm.
May all living creatures be at peace.
The key is to focus on the phrases, to conjure up love and compassion for ourselves and others. The practice is designed for creating feelings of goodwill, acceptance and empathy towards others and ourselves, over time. Who knows, maybe all of our good collective energy will prevail. And that is what the world needs right now.
Namaste. And if you like this post, please share.