Valentine’s Day is a day of loving reflection and expression we share with our loved ones. It is equally important to send loving thoughts to ourselves, as well.
Loving-kindness is an ancient (about 2500 yr old) meditation practice that brings about positive attitude changes as it develops the quality of loving-acceptance. It acts as a form of self-healing as it frees the mind from pain, confusion, anger, resentment or other negative emotions. In my many years of working with cancer patients and individuals fighting serious illnesses, I have seen many individuals make radical shifts when doing this practice, having released some of the anger and resentment they have been harboring for other individuals. Some have even felt that this anger has been an unhealthy roadblock to their healing. Enjoy practicing this Loving Kindness Meditation all year round.
Loving Kindness Meditation
The practice always begins with developing a loving acceptance of your own self. To begin with the self is critical, for one must be in a good frame of mind to be able to offer support, love, and kindness towards others. After this feels natural and comfortable, you will be ready to offer loving-kindness towards others. Some suggest not sending it out to others until you have spent some time sending these positive thoughts to yourself.
The four types of people to send this meditation out to:
- A beloved person in your life
- A person that you may be currently having a challenge or difficulty with
- A neutral person that you barely know. (ex. a salesperson in a store, mail carrier)
Starting with the self and then systematically sending loving-kindness from each person in the above order will have the effect of breaking down the barriers between yourself and others.
Say the words silently or out loud if you choose. For each person, recite the full meditation 3 times. Picture each person, including your own self, in your mind’s eye right in front of you as you send them loving kindness.
The words of the meditation:
(For the self, say ‘I’ and for the others, change to ‘You’)
May I/You be filled with loving kindness.
May I/You be well.
May I/You be peaceful and at ease.
May I/You be happy.