A Guided Loving-Kindness Meditation with Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg guides us through a 20-minute practice for connection and awareness.

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Loving-kindness doesn’t ask us to love every person we meet. Sharon Salzberg describes it as realizing how interconnected all of our lives are. In this state, we come to see how the things we love and the choices we make ripple outwards.

In this guided meditation, Sharon Salzberg leads us through a loving-kindness practice for connection and awareness.

A Loving-Kindness Meditation for Connection

1. Sit comfortably, or lie down if that’s better for you. You can close your eyes or leave them open. Let your attention settle into your body and start by taking a few deep breaths.

2. Allow your breath to be natural. We’re choosing, as an object of awareness, the silent repetition of certain phrases with ourselves as the first recipient. You can use any variation of the phrases: may I be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.

Repeat these phrases over and over with enough space and silence to create a rhythm that’s pleasing to you.

3. You don’t have to force a special feeling. Just gather all of your attention behind one phrase at a time. If you find your attention wandering, or you get lost in thought, or you fall asleep, don’t worry about it.

4. See if you can bring to mind someone who we will call a benefactor. Think of someone who has helped you. Maybe they’ve helped you directly, or they’ve helped you get up when you’ve fallen, or maybe you’ve never met them. This is someone who makes you smile.

If someone comes to mind, you can bring them here. Visualize them, say their name to yourself, get a feeling for their presence and offer the phrases of loving-kindness to them. Even if the words seem imperfect, that’s fine.

May you be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.

All kinds of emotions may arise. You may feel grateful, or you may feel embarrassed. Whatever may come up, see if it can just wash through you as you steady your attention on the repetition of the phrases.

5. Now, have that benefactor figure offer loving-kindness back to you. Put yourself in the position of the recipient as your benefactor offers the phrases to you.

May you be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.

All kinds of emotions may arise. You may feel grateful, or you may feel embarrassed. Whatever may come up, see if it can just wash through you as you steady your attention on the repetition of the phrases.

6. Imagine a friend who’s doing well right now. You can bring them here. Visualize them or say their name to yourself. Get a feeling for their presence and offer the phrases of loving-kindness to them.

7. Now imagine a friend who’s having difficulty. If someone comes to mind, bring them here and offer the phrases of loving-kindness to them.

8. Let’s have a party. Imagine a gathering of friends and family—anyone that comes to mind. Offer loving-kindness to that collective.

May you be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.

9. Then, add all beings everywhere. All people. All creatures. All those in existence. Near and far. Known and unknown.

May all beings be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.

10. When you feel ready, you can open your eyes.

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