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  • Writer's pictureStephen Dainty

A meditation on kindness

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(Taken from yoga site:

To begin

Find a comfortable posture sitting down on a cushion or a chair. Close your eyes and connect to the rhythm of your breath. George Langenberg suggests imagining you are sitting with someone or something who embodies loving kindness to you – it could be a spiritual teacher, a pet, a warm light, or even a favourite tree.

To yourself

Bring your attention inwards. Picture yourself in your mind’s eye. Become deeply aware of the person you are. As Tashi Dawa says in her class “Saturate yourself with awareness”.

Repeat your chosen phrases silently to yourself two to five times depending on the time you have. (Note how many repetitions you do and do the same number for all people).

May I be happy

May I be peaceful

May I be well

Don’t rush through the repetitions. Speak them slowly and deliberately – say it with feeling!

If you notice other thoughts coming in, gently bring your attention back to the words.

If you find it difficult to send this love to yourself, think of an act of kindness you’ve done, it can be something small, and say the words from this place of goodness. Or you can think of yourself as a child and wish that child well.

Someone close to you

Think of someone you are close to, with whom you share your life – a friend, partner, child – someone you love. Picture them sitting in front of you – let that image become really rich. Wherever this person is in real life, speak your chosen phrases to them as though they are there with you:

May you be happy

May you be peaceful

May you be well

When you have repeated these phrases a few times, let that person stand up and walk away again.

Someone neutral

Next think of someone you have neutral feelings about. This could be someone you cross paths with in your neighbourhood sometimes, someone who works in your local shop etc. Sit them down in front of you. Speak your phrases to them:

May you be happy

May you be peaceful

May you be well

When you are finished, let that person stand up and walk away again. Come back to your breathing.

Someone you have negative feelings about

In your mind’s eye picture a person you have some negative feelings or memories about. Someone you’ve had a disagreement with, a long standing grudge, or maybe a brief moment of disrespect. It could be an ex-partner or partner, a sibling, a colleague. This can be the most challenging – along with sending love to yourself – if the feelings are too raw or strong, choose someone you don’t know personally so well or imagine this persona as a child.

Again, speak as though they are sitting in front of you and you are speaking directly to them. Repeating the phrases:

May you be happy

May you be peaceful

May you be well

As that person stands up and walks away, come back to yourself – you can bring your hands to your heart and belly if this helps to connect back with yourself again.

To all beings

For this final round we send loving kindness to all living beings – speaking to all of life. In her class, Tashi suggests you might like to sit with your hands in an open gesture – resting the backs of your hands on your thighs.

Expand your awareness. Imagine your family, then all their friends, then all their friends’ families. Think about people you might meet one day, and to people you might never meet. Repeating your phrases and sending them out to wherever life exists:

May we be happy

May we be peaceful

May we be well

When you come to the end take a few more moments in quiet meditation, focusing on your breath again and any sensations in your body.

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