Mindful Monday: Loving Kindness Meditation

Love… that is what we’re going to talk about today!

Love… that is what we’re going to talk about today!

I know a lot of eye rolling goes on when the topic of love comes up. It’s cheesy. It’s unattainable. It’s unrealistic. There’s so much more anger and sadness in this world. Well, if you choose to see it that way…

So to further annoy all the cynics out there this Valentine’s Day week, I’m going to keep with the theme and write a bit more about it. Specifically, I’m going to give you a practical way to get more of that good stuff into your life. Even if you’re the hardest core cynic. Try it, I dare you!

This practical love creating exercise is called a loving kindness meditation. This meditation focuses on a few short phrases sending love to anyone. You don’t even have to like them.

Here’s how it’s usually done:

Send love to yourself.

May I be happy. May I be loved. May I be well. May I be peaceful and at ease.

This is how many feel about love, but loving kindness meditation can change that…

This is how many feel about love, but loving kindness meditation can change that…

Send love to someone you know but don’t have an emotional attachment to.

Your mail deliverer. The teller at your bank. Jeannie in payroll.

May you be happy. May you be loved. May you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease.

Send love to someone you adore.

Or something. If you can’t think of a human being, puppies, kittens, peonies are all good replacements. And if you can’t love a baby, then contact me and I’ll send you tons of loving kindness.

May you be happy. May you be loved. May you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease.

Send love to someone you find difficult.

Someone whose guts you absolutely hate. Who really makes your skin boil. Or is just uber annoying. Anywhere on the “you suck” scale works. I repeat, you don’t have to like someone to send them love. You don’t even have to feel anything close to love to do it. Just say the words.

May you be happy. May you be loved. May you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease.

Send love to humanity as a whole.

May you be happy. May you be loved. May you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease.

To quote the genius that are The Beatles: “Love is All We Need"

To quote the genius that are The Beatles: “Love is All We Need"

There are all kinds of loving kindness variations. Play around with it until you find something that works for you. You can mix up the order. Some people find sending love to themselves first is way hard so they move it to the end. Some people want to get the hard people out of the way first. It doesn’t matter. Please do send love to yourself, though, no matter how difficult this is. We’ve already discussed the importance of this.

You can send loving kindness to specific groups of people, co-workers, your entire family, the opposite political party.

You can also add your own wishes besides the traditional ones listed above. I do this. My own personal loving kindness goes: May I be happy. May I be loved. May I be loving. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be abundant. May I be peaceful and at ease.

Also, there are a million videos and audio recordings online if you’d rather have someone guide you. If you find their voice annoying either find someone else or send them some loving kindness and see what happens.

The interesting part of all of this is you don’t have to feel any love at all to do it. There’s just something about the act of meditating on these words that creates the feeling of love. Eventually. I can’t promise it’ll happen the first time you practice it. It might take weeks. Months. Years. It didn’t take me years, but I can’t tell you how long it’ll take you. I doubt years. I don’t even know who has that kind of patience. I would have given up myself at that point. But I can promise you that if you stick with it long enough you will feel something shift. Your heart will open. You will heal old wounds you didn’t even know you had. You will find yourself loving.

And magical things will happen when you start to feel the love. Relationships will be healed. New, healthy relationships will begin and grow. Random strangers will do nice things for you. Mortal enemies will start being kind. Or disappear from your life. I’ve experienced all of these. I won’t go into details to protect the innocent. Especially the mortal enemies who may not know they were mortal enemies.

Loving kindness can melt even the iciest of hearts.

Loving kindness can melt even the iciest of hearts.

The point is, no matter how cheesy or unrealistic love sounds, loving kindness really is magic. It transforms seemingly without effort. So get at it. And may you be happy. May you be loved. May you be loving. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be abundant. May you be peaceful and at ease.