A spoonful of self-care to help boost your well-being and connect you to others. Something we all need at the moment.
In this video, I talk to you about the loving-kindness meditation, why I love it, why it is so good (especially for the times we find ourselves in now) and what it involves. This video will help you connect with yourself in a gentle and loving way and to foster feelings of care and compassion for those around you.
Press play or read the transcript below:
Here you will find evidence-based, science-backed tools, techniques, exercises, and meditations to help you connect to yourself, and, the world around you, and ultimately to foster feelings of self-acceptance and self-trust within yourself.
So today is day two of the lockdown here and I’m not sure about you, but things certainly feel very uncertain to me, anxious and scary really. So I wanted to bring to you a meditation that would really help. Today’s video is going to include a demonstration and tutorial on how to use loving kindness meditation. I have liked this meditation for many years, but I think it is particularly relevant at the moment. In these difficult times, it allows us to increase our empathy and compassion not just towards ourselves but with the world around us as well.
What is loving-kindness meditation?
Loving-kindness meditation is a traditional Buddhist meditation. There are many forms of it, but fundamentally all have the same core intentions and the same psychological outcomes.
This meditation is most commonly an upright, sitting meditation. A time for us to send loving-kindness, first to ourselves and then to those around us. This can sometimes be difficult for some people if they’re not used to using such loving and caring words towards themselves. It can sometimes feel strange at first, this is totally normal. If the first time you do it, it feels a little bit clunky or a little bit unusual, it is ok. Allow yourself the time to give it a few goes before you come to a conclusion. I found it takes a couple of attempts before you really settle into the process and in to settle into the words.
Why is loving-kindness mediation so good?
A lot of research has been done on loving-kindness meditation and the main findings are as follows, it increases our connection with other people, it increases our personal wellbeing and it helps us to foster and increase our feelings of self-acceptance.
The meditation is made up of three parts. The first part is about, um, getting comfortable finding a seat and really settling into the body. The second part is about sending loving kindness to ourselves. And the third part is about sending loving-kindness to those around, our communities and the world.
Find a place where you can sit comfortably and in an upright position but comfortable still. If you would like to do so I encourage you to close your eyes. Allow your body to relax, allow your breath to slow down and really just settle into the position and into your breath. Take a few deep breaths. In through the nose and out through the mouth. Let yourself arrive where you are, into your body and into the moment. Let feelings of calm and peace settle into you. Imagine you are breathing calm in and feelings of tension out. When you’re ready. Start to repeat the following phrases silently in your head.
May I be safe,
May I be happy,
May I be healthy,
May I live with ease.
If these words don’t feel right for you or they are not the type of language you would usually use it is absolutely okay to replace the words with others that feel more comfortable for you. You might even just want to use one word, or perhaps a whole sentence unique to you. But the most important thing is to tune in to the words and their repetitive nature.
Continue to repeat the sentences.
May I be safe
May I be happy,
May I be healthy,
May I live with ease.
As you repeat the sentences really try to feel the feelings the sentences evoke. Try to make them real for you. To connect to the words you’re saying. It is important you devote yourself to the wishing part of these words, that you really, truly wish them for yourself. The intention is key, not the results. Try to connect with the intention and with the sentences themselves.
If your mind gets distracted or you start thinking of something, this is very normal. When you notice you’re thinking about something, gently bring your mind back to the present, to the sentences.
For part two of the meditation, you can either stay focusing on yourself or if you’d like to, I encourage you to shift the attention from yourself to other people. If you would like to think of a person, try to think of someone you really care about, someone you really to be happy. Someone you wish well and you have a very uncomplicated relationship with. A romantic relationship is not right for this situation but instead, you could call to mind a very good friend or a teacher or someone you genuinely want to be happy and wish good things for. Bring this person to mind and then use the same sentences we use for ourselves, but for another.
May you be safe,
May you be happy,
May you be healthy,
May you live with ease.
And as you did with yourself, try to connect to the words you are saying. Try to wish well for this person and connect to what it feels like to wish well for this person. Once you have repeated the sentences in your mind a few times you can then spread the loving-kindness net even further.
Repeat the sentences for all the people in your community.
May we all be safe,
May we all be happy,
May we all be healthy
May we all live with ease.
Try to feel the words you are saying and really wish for the words you are saying to be true.
Lastly, we can spread the net globally, which at the moment is a really beautiful thing to do and it can help with feelings of connectedness, feelings of connection and feelings of compassion.
May all beings be safe,
May all beings be happy,
May all beings be healthy,
May all beings live with ease.
Repeat these phrases silently in your mind. Again, if you lose concentration or if you start to think of something or you start to feel something in your body, gently bring your attention back to the sentences.
When you feel ready, you can start to open your eyes, start to readjust your senses to the environment you are sitting in and to the world around you. Before you get up and get on and carry on I really encourage you to take a few moments and let yourself sit in the feelings that you have generated.
Try to internalize these feelings of loving-kindness and know you can revisit them throughout the day, even after the meditation practise has finished.
Thank you so much for watching. I really hope you enjoy this loving-kindness meditation. If you’d like to leave a comment, don’t hesitate to do so below.
If you enjoyed this video and think you’d like to see more hit subscribe and I will see you next week.
For the audio version of this meditation, you can listen to Dr Kristin Neff’s audio here.