“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.” ~ The Dalai Lama
I recently happened on a beautiful gift of serenity and quiet joy – the heart-opening practice of the Loving Kindness Meditation.* Many versions of it exist, but the one I chose to follow was a simple one that took only twenty minutes of my time and yielded an exquisite sense of tranquility.
It goes like this: After sitting quietly for a bit to calm yourself, as you would do with any meditation, you send focused, conscious thoughts in four waves. You begin with yourself, wishing yourself happiness, healing, prosperity, forgiveness, love and all that you need to flourish and thrive. Spend at least five minutes enfolding yourself in these thoughts. There’s no rush. Allow yourself the full time to bathe in your sincere desires for your own well-being.
Next, expand your wave of benediction out to embrace those nearest and dearest to you. Picture each one in your mind, and saying their names, one at a time, wish them all the goodness you just wished yourself. Imagine their hearts opening to receive your blessings.
Now let your wave of loving-kindness expand to your more casual relationships and to strangers. Feel it gently expanding to touch hearts in all the world’s nations and cultures.
As the wave expands, it becomes filled with more and more loving kindness, becoming sweeter with every passing moment.
Finally, embrace within it people you dislike or who you view as enemies of any kind, and hold them in loving kindness, too.
When you have finished, gently open your eyes and savor the softness and openness of your heart. Let its gladness spread to your face and its glow color everything around you as you return to your normal routine.
Because it’s very soothing and fills you with a sense of connectedness and peace, I find using it as I settle into bed for the night especially enjoyable. But I urge you to try it, regardless of what hour you may choose. The happiness it brings is deep and fresh and sweet.
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*I’m sorry; I was on a surfing rampage when I found it and I didn’t think to add the source of it to my notes. I offer my sincere gratitude to its author, believing his or her permission to share it with you would flow easily.