The Loving Kindness Series: Session 1.
Loving kindness meditation is the most powerful type of meditation. It is a type of self-help therapy, or positive psychology technique for improving or maintaining high levels of wellbeing. This type of meditation facilitates the development of thinking tools based in emotional intelligence. For example, we develop or re-connect with feelings such as;
1. Compassion: We can sympathize with others through feeling their suffering, and develop feelings of wanting to help them heal.
2. Empathy: The ability to feel and share another person’s personal experience of suffering.
3. Patience: The ability to accept problems or suffering without becoming anxious, angry or upset.
4. Understanding: Being aware and tolerant towards other people and their actions.
As we develop various techniques for practicing loving kindness meditation we simultaneously grow our love for others – even people we don’t know. We develop compassion, empathy, patience and understanding for all of humanity – including ourselves!
For both adults and children – in order to develop the qualities that loving kindness meditation brings to the human psyche, we must practice regularly and routinely. In adults this meditation can also serve as a way of re-wiring the mind to avoid habitual mindsets of negative thinking about the self, or other people. For young children it can be a pathway for developing a mindset of positive thinking skills – facilitated through the development of emotional intelligence.
Do you have a spare 2 minutes right now? Allow yourself to start practicing today!
Simply sit still and take a few slow deep breaths. Go on – do it right now – it really will only take a couple of minutes. Feel your shoulders relaxed as you exhale. Now, using a positive affirmation coupled with a focus on maintaining your breathing pattern, as you exhale, you mentally affirm to yourself, ‘I know how to love’. Say it again in your mind, ‘I know how to love’, and just breath.
If other thoughts enter your mind – just let them pass through. This is not a time for self-analyzing – but only to remember or remind yourself that you do know how to love. If pictures of those you love come to mind – just smile – once again don’t over think it by analyzing the state of your current relationship with that person. Just let the thoughts go and focus on the breath, the affirmation, and the feeling of love.
Say it again in your mind, ‘I know how to love’, and just breathe and relax.
Repeat this affirmation at least another 3 times as you sit quietly and just relax with your mind on your breath and feeling your loving heart.
Stop reading for 2 minutes while you do the exercise with your eyes closed!
How easy was that?
Try this technique out with your children. Find a time when you can have an uninterrupted moment alone with your child. Turn off the technology, or visit a nice garden, or just sit together in their room. You may even like to substitute a prayer time with this meditation one evening.
Did you know that according to the Jewish Kabbalah, true communication with God comes from expressing our emotions, rather than our words? They say that God feels what we feel and this is how God truly understands us and connects with us. Additionally, when we interact with other people, often they remember how we made them feel based on the ‘vibe’ we unconsciously gave them, more so than what we had to say. Therefore, it is very important that we develop our emotional intelligence if we want to develop our relationships and/or high levels of wellbeing.
Note: If you would like to learn more about loving kindness meditation and the various techniques that can be used simply continue reading the series as it is developed or register for my blog so you don’t miss them.
Author: Elizabeth Mulhane
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Elizabeth Mulhane B.PsySc(Hons)