Reduce Stress with Loving Kindness…

Loving Kindness

This past summer, I participated in a five-week study on meditation at UNC.  I was randomly assigned the form of Loving Kindness.  Not having practiced this form before, I was profoundly moved as the mantra repeated, and deepened in experience over time.

It so happened that this adventure in consciousness came just as a fairly-challenging social condition arose in my life.  And although the stressful circumstances remained in place for a few weeks, I credit my regular Loving Kindness practice with providing me the capacity to bring more acceptance and ease into the situation.

It’s no secret that the holidays can generate some challenging social scenes.  And for some, the question becomes, “How best to prevent some of the holiday stress?”

If you can manage just 10 – 12 minutes, I highly recommend a daily session of Loving Kindness meditation.  

 It helps to bring one’s self into the center first; so it’s useful to begin with the phrases:  “May I be happy.  May I be healthy.  May I be peaceful.  May I be safe.”  Allow the deepening of feelings with each repetition…

 Then move outward in concentric rings to include an “other,” and then your various communities.   From there, the meditation can include the whole family of Man.  “May you be happy.  May you be healthy.  May you be peaceful.  May you be safe.”  

Once you’ve filled yourself with the love that arises, memorize the feeling as you take a slow, deep breath.  Then repeat that slow, deep breath at any time to signal your call for the peace and well-being that emerge with these sentiments: “May we be happy.  May we be healthy.  May we be peaceful.  May we be safe.”  

And may it be so for you and your families this holiday season.

Kind wishes and much love.

**  Above is the Buddhist Goddess, Bhrikuti.  She was created in Central Java (Indonesia) in the 9th century.  She’s made of bronze and stands 8.7 inches tall.  Bhrikuti “embodies compassion… she helps students of meditation fully realize loving kindness.” 

Photo made available on Wikimedia Commons

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