The 5 Stages of Loving-Kindness Meditation

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Loving-kindness is easier with practice, and spontaneity takes planning. So, to increase the chances of a spontaneous genuine heartfelt wish of happiness for ourselves and others, regardless of the circumstances, we practice.
All of us desire happiness, well-being and freedom. In this practice, we are simply offering our heartfelt wish that everyone receives what they want most.
Season 1 of Heartful shares simple meditations and can be done anywhere, anytime. These practice will nourish the layers of your heart to allow the medicine of Loving-kindness to flow through you spontaneously and effortlessly.
We begin in Episode 2 with locating our heart center. The physical heart usually sits just to the left of center snuggled in the left lung. The spiritual heart can usually be felt right in the center of the chest behind the breastbone, and the true heart, or wish-fulfilling tree, can be located just below the diaphragm. One of these locations will feel most natural to you. Identifying a physical sensation to help hold the attention and locate the breath is very useful to stay alert and present during the mediation sessions and in daily life.
There are five stages of the Loving-kindness meditation. We practice each one for about 5 minutes and then put them together in the last episode for a longer 20-minute meditation.
Stage 1: Make Friends with Yourself
We start, in Episode 3, by practicing Loving-kindness towards ourselves. The practice begins at home with us because it is impossible to give what we do not have.
Stage 2: Wish a Loved One Happiness
Offering Loving-kindness to a loved one, as we do in Episode 4, is usually the easiest practice for most of us and a good tool to have in an emergency. This practice can be the antidote for when the heart is flooded with poisons of envy, greed, malice and other killers.
Stage 3: Wish a Stranger Happiness
Finding a stranger to work with in Episode 5 allows us to see how small our circle of concern is. Rarely do we consider somebody until they are helping or hurting our chances of getting what we want. This meditation helps us include those who may not be so obvious as personally affecting us.
Stage 4: Wish an Enemy Happiness
Offering Loving-kindness to a perceived enemy is not an easy practice, and one that might require some training. If you have never entered these realms, and find the meditation in Episode 6 difficult, you might find the practice of Affection from Season 1 of Inner Workings helpful to feel safer as you engage. The grip we allow others to have on us is ours to change. Once we start to accept and understand that we cannot control people, places and things, there is a renewed energy to bring the work back home.
Stage 5: Wish the Cosmos Happiness
In Episode 7, we practice expanding our reach and offering Loving-kindness to a larger circle, like our family, our village, our city, our planet, and maybe even the entire cosmos.
In Episode 8, we do the complete 20-minute Loving-kindness meditation with all five steps.
I would like to thank my teacher Jetsumna Tenzin Palmo for planting these teachings in my heart.
About the Author

Kira Sloane

Kira is fascinated by the study of what Is and loves to examine the ordinary every day miracles.


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