From The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, “Metta bhavana, or loving-kindness meditation, is a method of developing compassion. It comes from the Buddhist tradition, but it can be adapted and practiced by anyone, regardless of religious affiliation; loving-kindness meditation is essentially about cultivating love.” What could be better?
It brings about an emotion, something you feel in your heart. It's much like the warm, pure, clean feeling you might have after communing with the people in your Course in Miracles study group. It's much like the feeling you might have as you contemplate your love and appreciation for your pet—perhaps the only creature on the planet that gives you unconditional love. No matter. It's a powerful feeling, a powerful emotion. And it feels really good.
Loving-kindness meditation is truly powerful. When I think the words and ideas this meditation uses as I interact with others, it magnifies the encounter. The cashier at the grocery store checkout line. The friend sitting across from me at Starbucks engaging in conversation. The driver in the next car who may have cut me off. The person I am speaking with on the phone. To all of them I can say one or a few of these ideas silently:
May you be well.
May you be happy, healthy and whole.
May you have love, warmth and affection.
May you be protected from harm and free from fear.
May you be alive and joyful.
May you experience inner peace and ease.
As I extend those ideas to them, I picture them receiving my good wishes. Those wishes put a “halo” around the other person; those wishes endear the person to me. What's more, they encourage me to think in terms of the many foundational teachings the Course offers. For example:
When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him, you will see yourself. As you treat him, you will treat yourself. As you think of him, you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose sight of yourself. Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance at salvation. Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself, for I am always there with you in remembrance of you. (ACIM OE T.8.IV.19)
Want to learn more? Check out this amazing website that offers a complete eight-week free mindfulness training program, the same as offered by Jon Kabat-Zinn and his associates at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. At the sidebar on the left you'll find a simple, clear and effective thirteen-minute guided loving-kindness meditation. Click the icon at center screen to hear the meditation. Better yet, download it to your device (lovingkindness.mp3) so you can listen to it whenever you like.
Enjoy! And do get started. What could be a better time for some serious change? All we have is now.