What is loving kindness meditation? Dating back 2,500 years, this type of meditation guides us through different stages of spreading compassion by using images and the repetition of loving phrases. By fostering an open heart, this meditation allows us to experience a more meaningful (and joyful) connection with ourselves and others.
Essentially this meditation exercises your compassion muscle. Here’s an example:
Sit and close your eyes. Growing tall through the spine, start to steady your breath and find the connection with your body. Rooting into the ground with your feet, focus on feeling peace while inhaling love and exhaling tension. Once your breath is balanced, repeat three or four positive loving phrases to yourself. If your attention drifts, gently redirect it back to these thoughts and feelings. For the focus of this meditation, you may continue to bask in self compassion, or direct the focus towards the people in your life that you care about and wish them happiness. (Sometimes, we may feel a warmth in our chest after this practice). You may event want to repeat the reassuring phrases. You may continue to bring other people from your life into your awareness, envisioning wellness and inner peace. Extending compassion may allow us to feel more connected to people who may be far, or even that we’re in conflict with.
After completing this meditation, remember you can revisit the feelings you produced throughout the day. This practice internalizes how loving kindness meditation feels, and can be a valuable tool to shift our focus in times of stress.