These are some wild times we live in! Most of us have had some turbulence in our inner and outer worlds, and have felt both overwhelmed and underwhelmed during this global pandemic. Who would have thought that a virus could bring us all together and finally create some sense of unity? It’s crazy that the way we can help each other is to stay away from each other! It’s such a weird way to connect … but it is the way we are all connected right now!
So much is out of our control, but we can still do work to deepen our relationship with ourselves and with others. This simple and accessible meditation practice is called Loving-kindness (or Metta). It’s a way to strengthen your compassion and extend it out to others. Loving-kindness is all about cultivating unconditional and inclusive love that creates a warmth for oneself and others. This practice is a softening of the mind and heart, and a beautiful way to bless all beings everywhere.
- Start by sitting or laying down in a comfortable position. Relax your whole body, close your eyes, and slow down your breath. Bring your attention to your heart space and connect with the physical part of you that holds your love, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, and empathy.
- Loving-kindness always starts with yourself. In your head repeat these simple phrases: “May I be safe. May I be peaceful. May I be happy. May I live with ease.” You can add your own phrases as well.
- Next, visualize someone who you respect and admire. This can be a teacher, mentor or elder. Repeat the same phrases “May you be safe. May you be peaceful. May you be happy. May you live with ease.” Continue to widen your circle and build compassion.
- Then think of someone who you love unconditionally. This person can be a family member or friend, and is someone who is easy to build compassion for. Repeat the same phrases “May you be safe. May you be peaceful. May you be happy. May you live with ease.” Keep cultivating compassion and extend it out to others. Let it grow!
- The next person to imagine is a neutral person, who you don’t have any strong like or dislike feelings about. Repeat the same phrases “May you be safe. May you be peaceful. May you be happy. May you live with ease.” Your blessing is getting bigger and so is your compassion!
- The final person to think of is someone who you have a difficult relationship with. This may be someone who pushes your buttons, or who you may even call your enemy. Repeat the same phrases “May you be safe. May you be peaceful. May you be happy. May you live with ease.” Your heart is SO BIG that you even have enough room to send this hostile person love!
- Lastly, gather up all of your compassion and send it out to ALL BEINGS EVERYWHERE. Repeat “May all beings everywhere be safe. May all beings everywhere be peaceful. May all beings everywhere be happy. May all beings everywhere live with ease. May all beings everywhere be freed from suffering.”
As you send out love and compassion to all beings everywhere, you are also sending it to yourself. Your inner world and outerworld are benefitting from the compassion you have cultivated. Feel the profound interconnectedness of all creatures and all life.