Loving Kindness

Loving kindness is a practice that focuses on the cultivation of kindness in every form of life including experiences, emotions, bodily sensations, and thought patterns. The intention of a loving kindness practice is to greet each life experience with kindness. Importantly, it is not about good feelings or saying affirmations but the intention to come from a place of true kindness for yourself and others. Loving kindness is grouped into five categories and is intended for: (1) self, (2) friend, family, or benefactor, (3) a neutral person, (4) a challenging person and (5) for all living beings in the universe.

This meditation is from Insight LA and Thich Nhat Hanh.

Now, sit or lie in a comfortable position. Focus on your breath. Notice where the breath travels in your body. Now, recognize your heart, the space around your heart, your chest. Notice whether your heart is expanded or restricted, weighted or light, open or shut. Breathe into your heart. This is to recognize your heart’s physicality, not to change your heart, but to tune into your heart space. Now, think of someone you love. Think how they make you feel. Imagine them in your mind, smiling at you. Now, begin to send them positive intentions listed below. Repeat these intentions silently to yourself.

“May you be safe from inner and outer harm.
May you be truly happy and deeply peaceful.
May you live your life with ease.
May you accept yourself completely just as you are.” -Insight LA

For the second part, transition your focus to yourself. Think of loving yourself. Holding yourself like a precious infant. Begin to say the intentions to yourself silently. Repeat the intentions and breathe.

“May I be safe from inner and outer harm.
May I be truly happy and deeply peaceful.
May I live my life with ease.
May I accept myself completely just as I am (in the moment).” -Insight LA

When you complete the meditation notice how you feel. How your heart feels and congratulate yourself for taking the time to send yourself loving kindness.

Additional phrases include (Thich Nhat Hanh):

“May I be peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit.
May I be safe and free from injury.
May I be free from anger, afflictions, fear, and anxiety.”
“May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding love.
May I nourish and recognize the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.
May I be able to live fresh, solid, and free.”

Single word phrases (Insight LA):

“Safe — happy — healthy — free”
“May I be safe.
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be free.”
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