This classic loving-kindness meditation can help you to awaken to how connected we all are. You don’t have to like everybody, or agree with everything they do—but you can open up to the possibility of caring for them, because our lives are inextricably linked.
A 10-Minute Meditation to Connect With Loving-Kindness
1. Begin by thinking about someone who has helped you; maybe they’ve been directly generous or kind, or have inspired you though you’ve never met them. When you think of them, they make you smile. Bring an image of the person to mind, or feel their presence as if they’re right in front of you. Say their name to yourself, and silently offer these phrases to them, focusing on one phrase at a time.
May you live in safety.
May you have mental happiness (peace, joy).
May you have physical happiness (health, freedom from pain).
May you live with ease.
Don’t struggle to fabricate a feeling or sentiment. If your mind wanders, simply begin again.
2. After a few minutes, move on to a friend. Start with a friend who’s doing well right now, then switch to someone who is experiencing difficulty, loss, pain, or unhappiness.
3. Offer loving-kindness to a neutral person who you don’t feel a strong liking or disliking for: a cashier at the supermarket, a bank teller, a dry cleaner. When you offer loving-kindness to a neutral person, you are offering it to them simply because they exist—you are not indebted to or challenged by them.
4. Offer loving-kindness toward a person with whom you have difficulty. Start with someone mildly difficult, and slowly work toward someone who has hurt you more grievously. It’s common to feel resentment and anger, and it’s important not to judge yourself for that. Rather, recognize that anger burns within your heart and causes suffering, so out of the greatest respect and compassion for yourself, practice letting go and offering loving-kindness.
5. Finish by offering loving-kindness to anyone who comes to mind: people, animals, those you like, those you don’t, in an adventurous expansion of your own power of kindness.
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