How to Cultivate Love for Yourself and Others with One Powerful Meditation
We're honored to share this amazing guest blog post by my dear friend Stephanie Fowler. I was blessed to meet Stephanie last winter at a yoga and business retreat in Arizona, and was blown away by her warmth and wisdom. His blog reminds us of our own power, that what we're doing is okay and that we are worthy of great things.
What if you could give yourself wonderful much-needed daily injections of love, compassion, and understanding? Even better - what if you could forgive yourself more easily?
Imagine what it would be like to wake up each morning feeling uplifted and full of love. Yet, for many of us, begins with a feeling of dread, regret, worry, or even anger.
Think for a moment about all the potential for negativity in your life:
Extreme stress from work
Nasty argument with a loved one
Looming bills causing financial issues
Frightening illness in the family
Tyrannic expectations from society
Crushed personal goals due to all the above
We’ve all been there at some point, but there is a solution. And, the best news? You can start today!
How? By doing a simple, gentle meditation practice called Loving-Kindness Meditation. Also known as Metta Meditation, it can be practiced by anyone by using affirmations for yourself. And, that’s not all - Loving-Kindness Meditation branches out to include others, too!
Want to see how it works right now? Let’s get to it.
What is Loving-Kindness Meditation really?
Loving-Kindness Meditation is a way to cultivate love for yourself and others. It is unconditional and does not rely or depend on if you or others deserve love or not. Think of Loving-Kindness this way: it is love with wisdom. And the cool thing? There is no expectation of anything in return.
How do we begin a Loving-Kindness practice?
Take a comfortable seated position. Why? Because one of the aims of this meditation is to feel good, and that includes physically, too. By all means, use a cushion or folded blanket so your hips are slightly higher than your knees. You can even sit on a sofa or comfy chair if you’d like.
Focus on your heart center. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe deeply and maybe sigh your breath out if that feels good for you. Just . . . settle your thoughts.
Next Up? The Power of Three with Loving-Kindness Meditation
Loving-Kindness Meditation is a three-part meditation of repeating affirmations for yourself and others. Don’t worry -- it’s easy, and here’s the magical sequence.
To begin with, focus on YOU. Yep, start off with self love.
Next, focus on loved ones.
You get to choose. It could be family, friends, pets -- focus on all or just one or two. As you gain more experience, you can focus on all loved ones. It’s kind of like a pebble tossed into a lake. The ripples are small but get bigger and bigger.
Finally, we are at the last step where we focus on those we struggle with right now.
I know what you’re thinking. You can’t send love to your enemies. I get it because I’ve been there, too. Maybe start with someone you don’t care for at work -- someone that isn’t your sworn enemy. Taking baby steps with this last part of Loving-Kindness is best.
If you’d like to start this meditation by just focusing on yourself before adding the second and third steps, that is totally fine. Start small and branch out -- just like that pebble tossed into the lake.
Which Affirmations Should I Use for Loving-Kindness Meditation?
I tend to focus on three or four affirmations at a time. Let’s face it. It is too hard to remember all the ones you could use, so narrow it down. I tell my students to KISS it: Keep It Super Simple! In fact, I’ve developed a fantastic FREE guide for you to print out and keep in front of you.
Pick from this terrific list of Loving-Kindness affirmations I like to use:
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be free from fear and worry.
May I be happy just as I am.
May I care for myself in this ever-changing world.
May I be safe and protected.
May I be free of mental suffering and distress.
May I be blessed with love and light.
May I be appreciative and thankful.
May I be able to live in this world happily and peacefully.