Loving Kindness Meditation for Your Self

Loving Kindness Meditation for Your Self

Find a posture that allows you to be comfortable and at ease. Settling into your seat. Taking a few full breaths in and out.

Scanning thru your body, letting go of whatever tension you can.

Relaxing thru your shoulders, softening your hands, softening your belly. And even relaxing your feet.

It can be helpful to create an experience of loving kindness in the body by imagining an inner smile and the felt sense of a smile spreading throughout your whole being. Warm, bright and open.

You can imagine a smile behind your eyes …turning the corners of the eyes softly upward. Sensing a smile in the chest – the region of the heart. A smile inside the abdomen, inside the pelvis.

Feeling the warmth, the ease, the openness of that smile radiating inside the whole body now. Including your mind so that your thoughts, and your entire mental life floats in this more receptive space.

A space that can hold this life as it is.
Now bring to mind someone who you find easy to feel love with. It can be a friend, a family member, a teacher, or even a pet.

 

Someone who you trust fully loves and cares for you or someone who arouses your deep love and care for them – maybe a child or someone who you sense is vulnerable.

Whoever you brought to mind – sense that being’s goodness. What makes him or her dear to you. What brings up your sense of care.
Now hold this being in your attention and begin to offer the following phrases of loving kindness to them…

May you be filled with loving kindness. Held in loving kindness. May you realize loving kindness is your essence.

May you be happy.
May you accept yourself just as you are.
May you feel safe and free from harm.
May you feel peaceful.

As you offer these phrases, you might imagine the person receiving them.

You can repeat the phrases again…
May you be filled with loving kindness. Held in loving kindness. May you realize loving kindness is your essence.

May you be happy.
May you accept yourself just as you are.
May you feel safe and free from harm.
May you feel peaceful.

Now bringing your attention to your own being. Allowing yourself to remember and open up to your own goodness.

You might do this by bringing to mind times when you have been kind & generous – you might recall your natural desire to be happy and not to suffer. Connecting to your longing to spiritually awaken…to know Truth.

You might recognize how your honor your essential presence, your honestly, your ability to love and be love.

If acknowledging your own goodness is difficult for you, then might try looking at yourself thru the eyes of someone who knows and loves you.
Now with a silent internal whisper..begin offering yourself those same phrases of care you said earlier.

It may be helpful to place a hand on your own heart as a way of deepening your communication to your own being.

As you repeat the each phrase, sense the meaning of the words. Allowing them to become sincere prayers for your own well-being.

Feel free to change the phrases if you would like to.

May I be filled with loving kindness. May I be held in loving kindness. May I realize loving kindness is my essence.

May I be happy.
May I accept myself just as I am.
May I feel safe and free from harm.
May I feel peaceful.
Repeat the phrases again.

If you find any resistance arising in your being – maybe just stay with the phrase – May I be filled with Loving Kindness. Over and over.
Now allow your awareness to open out in all directions. In front of you, behind you, above and below you, out to the sides of you —as far as you can feel it — out infinitely.

And in this vast infinite space, feel your loving presence is holding all beings…those that you know well and those that are unknown to you – all species.

Imagine you can hold all life everywhere – the Earth, & all its beings in your infinite heart.
Aware of the Joys & Sorrows that all beings experience & again offering your caring phrases for their well-being.

May all beings be filled with loving kindness. May all beings be held in loving kindness. May all beings realize loving kindness as their essence.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings accept themselves as they are.
May all beings be safe and free from harm.
May all beings be at peaceful.
May all beings be free.

Now draw your awareness back to yourself, breathing deeply. Feeling your body sitting here –
And when you are ready – you can open your eyes.

Then let that color change to yellow…a bright, sunny yellow color.  Drink in that color as it pours down like a rain shower of light.    Sunshine yellow…filling you up.

Now imagine green light coming down – soft and healing.  Green light all around you.

Then a beautiful blue like the ocean – deep and calming.  Sapphire blue showering down with in you and all around you.

And now the color violet – spiritual uplifting, raising your vibration and cleansing any heaviness out of your aura.  Violet the color of transformation.   Breathing in this beautiful healing color.

Now imagine all of the colors of the rainbow flowing down like a rain shower …filling you up with all of their profound properties of healing.

Coming back to your breath and back into your body now.  Rubbing your palms together and placing them over your eyes.  Feeling the warmth radiating from your hands.  Gently when you are ready open your eyes.  And release your hands back down to your legs.  Feeling recharged and ready to go about your day.

 

Reclining Body Scan Meditation

Reclining Body Scan Meditation

You do not need to sit for your daily meditation. Sometimes what we need most is to lie down and relax into a restful state of present moment awareness.

I have found this simple practice to be so comforting and healing. I hope you will too.

 

 

Reclining Body Scan Meditation inspired by Jon Kabat Zinn.

15 minute guided meditation

 

Daily Centering Meditation

Daily Centering Meditation

solstice-fern-copy Happy Winter Solstice.

During this season, I find myself increasing my meditation time. Usually this happens naturally out of my desire for more internal time but it also happens out of necessity. This time of year can be stressful and challenging with all of the added activities and with the state of world affairs now, we are all feeling the need for more inner balance and peace.

The practice of meditation can be a brief practice of reflection. Becoming still and taking time to listen to our bodies, minds, emotions and then remembering Spirit can be an enormous support for us in maintaining a balanced and compassionate connection with the world around us.

Please accept this gift of gratitude. I am grateful to have the opportunity to share the path of yoga with all of you.

Daily centering meditation practice – 9 minutes.

 

Meditation on 4 Attitudes

Meditation on 4 Attitudes

prayer-wheelsA few weeks ago I went to see a movie called The Last Dalai Lama directed by Mickey Lemle. The movie was about our current Dalai Lama. It was a powerful movie, and in my opinion, a must see for everyone – especially for these current times. The Dalai Lama summed up his message:

At the end with my last breaths, I am quite sure I will remember while I am dying about altruism for all entire sentient beings. This I am quite sure I can practice at the moment of my last breathing. (I have paraphrased a little).

What struck me about this is the absolute certainty in which the Dalai Lama states these words. He is absolutely certain that on his last breath he will have selfless concern and loving compassion for all beings everywhere. Wow . . . what a powerful truth to know about yourself. How many of us can say that? Our world is always in desperate need for more love and compassion. How do we practice (as the Dalai Lama states) compassion for all beings; even when they are not being kind or loving to us?

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (a 2nd Century Yoga Philosophy text), we are offered a beautiful practice to cultivate this compassion for others in Sutra 1.33.

Maitri karuna mudita upekshanam sukha duhka punya apunya vishayanam bhavanatah chitta prasadanam

In relationships, the mind becomes purified by cultivating feelings of friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and indifference or neutrality towards those we perceive as wicked or evil.

One of the most important things to understand about this practice according to Patanjali is that it will help each of us to stabilize and calm our own minds and hearts; thereby bringing peace to us individually.

Which therefore allows us to become the carriers of peace to others. I love this.

Sutra 1:33 is often called the 4 Locks and 4 Keys Sutra. It is a teaching on how the mind can maintain it’s peace in all circumstances.

This sutra comes in the grouping of sutras that Patanjali offers as different techniques to calm and quiet the mind. In this sutra, Patanjali suggests we cultivate these 4 attitudes as the keys to the relationship issues that often challenge us.

The 4 Attitudes are:

  1. Maitri – Friendliness
  2. Karuna – Compassion
  3. Mudita – Delight
  4. Upeksha – Equanimity

The 4 Locks or challenges we often face in our relationships with others are:

  1. When we see a happy person when we ourselves are not happy
  2. When we see an unhappy person and we become impatient or judgemental
  3. When we see a virtuous person with admirable qualities
  4. When we see a un-virtuous (or wicked) person and we become angry

Patanjali suggestion is that we “apply” the keys this way:

  1. When we see a happy person, we share in their happiness or good fortune by remaining friendly to them and releasing any jealousy.
  2. When you see an unhappy person, have compassion for them rather than wishing they would be happier or healthier or whatever. (Through compassion you find that all human beings are just like you.” – HH The Dalai Lama)
  3. When we see a virtuous person, delight in and appreciate their goodness. This celebration of their good qualities is the best way to bring out our own virtuous qualities.
  4. And finally when we see an un-virtuous, if we can remain undisturbed by their actions we have a better chance of acting from a place of calmness and clarity. Patanjali is not suggesting that we do nothing when there is an injustice, he is suggesting that by retaining our undisturbed calmness, we will have more clarity of mind to choose to act in a way that reduces suffering rather than increases it.

As we practice with these 4 locks and 4 keys, it is important to remember to apply them to ourselves as well:

  • Remembering to cultivate friendliness for our own happiness.
  • Remembering to have compassion for our own sorrow and suffering. AKA . . . Be kind to yourself.
  • Remember to be joyful when we develop and express our own virtuous qualities
  • Remember to have discipline, patience, and mental calmness when we are working with our own negative traits or weaknesses.
  • Practice forgiveness for ourselves as well as others.

Meditation on these four attitudes

Reflecting on these 4 attitudes during your daily meditation time can be very helpful. It is a good idea to choose one and practice with it for an extended period of time. Simply choose one of the four attitudes; friendliness, compassion, delight or equanimity and then allow some person or persons to arise in your mind that you currently find challenging. As you bring this person to mind, simply observe and notice your reactions.

Then as your attention settles on that inner impression of that person, allow yourself to cultivate the positive or useful attitude. So if you are finding jealousy for this person’s good fortune to be an issue, cultivate feelings of friendliness towards this person wishing them continued good fortune. Gradually; the negativity or perception of the situation may begin to weaken.

If it does not, do not worry. Just continue to practice until it does.

 

“May all beings find peace within their heart
May all beings find peace with each other.”

Mental Steadiness & Inner Stillness Meditation

Mental Steadiness & Inner Stillness Meditation

malaI find that the necessity for mental and emotional equilibrium (balance) growing more and more everyday.

The world around me/us seems to be moving at such an accelerated pace that slowing down and the experience of being present is becoming a relic of the past.

Simple breath awareness meditations are really effective for calming the nervous system, relaxing muscular tension throughout the body and they are great for center the mind.

Enjoy this simple yet profound meditation to help steady your mind and pave the way to an experience of inner stillness.

MENTAL STEADINESS AND INNER STILLNESS MEDITATION

Two minute introduction explaining the full meditation 

Ten minute guided meditation


WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS

Set yourself up for meditation:

  • Take a comfortable seat.
  • Sit up tall creating length through all four sides of the torso.
  • Lower the chin until it is parallel to the floor under you . . . back of your neck is long.
  • Close your eyes and look inward.
  • Settle into your seat with a few deep breaths.
  • Allow the breath to just be as it is today and simply observe the breath as it flows in and out (It is helpful here to find a place in your body where you experience the sensation of the breath the strongest . . . this is where you can place your attention).
  • As you deepen into this breath awareness meditation you may find the mind needing something more to do if it is tending towards distraction…if you do you can note the breath mentally.
  • Saying inwardly to yourself . . . “Breathing In” on the inhalation; “Breathing Out” on the exhalation.
  • Continue with this for 5, 10 and up to 20 minutes a day.

You will experience the results of this practice strongly with consistency.