A Loving Heart is a Happy Heart: Simple Loving Kindness Meditation

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The heart thrives with the loving kindness meditation and already knows the practice. When we are willing to turn our attention to the heart’s need to be loving, we can experience a spontaneous internal positive response to our heart’s truth. We find the suggestion of lovingkindness (or maitiri) in Sutra 1.33 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras as well as within the Buddhist Four Immeasurables. There are traditionally five steps to the meditation, and in the beginning, it’s useful to practice “more formally” to get the hang of it. The real beauty of lovingkindness is that it works on the go, spontaneously, and in any context in which we find ourselves. Your confidence will increase with practice, and you will come to discover it as the heart’s natural default.
  1. Sit Down
  2. Like with most meditation practices, the first step is to find a comfortable seat in a chair or on a floor. Snuggle in your seat, soften your belly, let your heart be relaxed and bright and your skull light.
  3. Slow Your Breath
  4. Turn your attention to your breath, and allow the rhythm to naturally slow down.
  5. Tune in your Heart
  6. Now turn your attention to your heart space. You might be aware of your physical heart, just to the left of center, or more in tune with your energetic heart that sits more centrally, behind the breastbone. If either of these areas are painful, drop your attention down below your breastbone, below your diaphragm, to the area known to the yogis as the wish-fulfilling tree. Let your awareness hold your heart region to encourage the natural fullness and warmth.
  7. May You Be Well and Happy
    • Wishing Yourself Happiness
    • Tenderly and silently, with your attention on your own heart, begin to wish yourself well with the mantra, “May I be well and happy.” Let the mantra ride with the breath. This is a very important first step because we must be good friends with ourselves which means we must be able to wish ourselves happiness. Stay with this for a handful of minutes.
    • Wishing a Loved One Happiness
    • With the heart tender, turn your attention to a being for whom you have easy affection and a genuine wish of joy. With this being in your field of awareness, let your heart wish her/him happiness using the same mantra, “May you be well and happy.” Stay with this for a few minutes. You might stop here or continue bravely on.
    • Wishing a Stranger Happiness
    • Let your awareness identify someone you see often but have never given much thought to their wellbeing, someone neutral, like your local trash collector, coffee shop owner, or a distant cousin. From your heart, do your best to genuinely wish her/him happiness with the same mantra, “May you be well and happy.” Be here a few minutes.
    • Wishing a Difficult Person Happiness
    • This is not as hard as it seems. With proper preparation, we can discover a generosity of the heart that is beyond our perception. Simply bring someone with whom you are having difficulty into your awareness and allow the heart and the mantra to wish her/him happiness. Be here a few minutes.
    • Wishing the Whole Cosmos Happiness
    • Relax the image of the difficult person, and allow yourself to gently radiate the good will of your heart outward. At this point, sometimes the mantra helps you stay focused, sometimes the feeling in your heart is stronger than the words. Be here a handful of minutes. Relax and rest.
  8. Integrate into Daily Life
  9. Let this meditation become your heart’s default. The daily life gives so many opportunities to practice. Whenever someone comes into your mind, wish her/him happiness. When someone cuts you off in traffic, play with wishing her/him happiness. Instead of making out with the phone while waiting in line or riding public transportation, find your heart, and allow yourself to wish all the people around you wellness and happiness. A loving heart is a happy heart. Let your life become a vehicle for your heart’s natural wellspring of joy.
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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