Sunday, February 15, 2015

I Wish You Peace: A Simple LovingKindness Meditation

Basically, this is how lovingkindness meditation works:

First, you send compassion to yourself.

May I be happy. May I be well. May I be free from harm.

Then you think of someone you love.

May you be happy. May you be well. May you be free from harm.

Then you picture someone neutral, perhaps a neighbor or a local shopkeeper. Someone you see from time to time but don't have strong feelings about.

May you be happy. May you be well. May you be free from harm.

And finally you focus on someone you aren't particularly fond of, before sending good wishes to everyone in the world.

Now, this is where things can get tricky.

I don't know about you, but I can find it a bit challenging (OK, way more than a bit challenging) to wish a long life of happiness and good fortune to people I don't actually like very much.  

But I can always wish them peace.  If they were at peace, they’d probably treat me a lot better, right?

And let's face it, I'm not exactly sweetness and light twenty-four hours a day, either.  When I feel at peace, I'm a lot nicer to other people, and to myself.

So here's a simple lovingkindness meditation that works for me, no matter whether I start out feeling particularly loving that day:

I wish for peace.
I wish for peace.
I wish for peace.
My friend, I wish you peace.
My acquaintance, I wish you peace.
My “enemy,” I wish you peace.
Everyone, I wish you peace.
I wish for peace.

Images from dove by Luigi Diamanti and peace sign dude by farconville 


related posts:

Compassionate Image: A Guided Visualization Practice

The Downside of Righteous Indignation

The Eightfold Path in Everyday Life

Pebble Meditation: A Mindfulness Activity to Cultivate Peace

You may also be interested in a reflection on lovingkindness and blessings from my sister, who's a Presbyterian pastor: 5 Common Misunderstandings About Christians and Mindfulness (see misunderstanding # 5)