Final Instructions on Formal Loving Kindness
I hope you are all doing well. I am doing good. I want to share the rest of the formal loving-kindness meditation with you today. The next practice with be the informal meditation. I hope you find something in this meditation that helps you in your daily life. I am using it to help with the healing process.
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If you didn't start to feel kindness to yourself in the beginning of the formal meditation. Your not doing it wrong. Let yourself reflect on a wish to be happy and peaceful. If you still don't feel it, remember that the old mind habits take time to change. Think of it as a opportunity to practice patience toward yourself without judgment or guilt. You can always come back to yourself as often as you like.
After a period of time, let go of yourself and shift the focus to a loved one. For example think of a family member, good friend possibly a mentor or someone who has treated you with kindness and generosity. Someone who has inspired or enriched your life. This should be someone that you can easily extend friendliness and kindness.
Use the phrases from my earlier post or create your own phrases, just replace the I with your loved ones name. Visualize their face as you say the phrases and allow good wishes, kindness and warm feelings in you to flow to this person, wishing them well wherever they are in the world. For example May Sue be healthy, May Sue be happy, May Sue be peaceful, May Sue be safe. After this deep connection with your loved one shift your attention towards a person you feel neutral about, someone you do not know well. Repeat the same phrases. Your gift of wishing kindness is anonymous and offered freely. Your kindness may do a stranger good. Next shift your focus on a difficult person. This is someone you have conflict with, someone you judge or resent. Repeat the phrases again. If opening your heart to someone you don't like seems to challenging, simply return your attention to yourself. The last focus is to shift your attention and repeat the phrases to the rest of the world. To all people, animals, plants, the earth, and all living things. Think of people in other countries who may be in need of loving-kindness. As you extend the feelings of friendship, caring and kindness to all individuals and all forms of life, a sense of boundlessness may arise in you. Recognize and enjoy that feeling.
When you're ready to end your formal practice, bring attention back to yourself. Take a few deep breaths. Gently begin to move your body. You might want to wiggle your fingers and toes. If you have warm feelings inside, just rest with those for a moment. End your practice bye opening your eyes and then, when you're ready, move out of your meditation position. Let the expansiveness and compassion you experienced during meditation follow you throughout your day.