Exercises- Loving Kindness

This exercise involves repeating a few simple wishes for yourself and for others in the privacy of your own mind.

It is important to remember that these wishes are just aspirations, meaning they may not be true in this moment. They are simply things that we wish for other people, and for ourselves. While these phrases are simple, they are profound wishes so they may bring up different feelings, which is completely normal.

If at any point during any part of this exercise, it doesn’t feel useful to you, feel free to simply focus on your breath, or wherever feels most helpful to you. Alternatively, you may focus on a simple phrase, as simple as My name is….X. This can be linked to your breath by repeating the phrase on the exhale.

  1.   When comfortable and ready, focus your breath on the present moment.
  1.   Bring your gaze down, and find a soft place to focus your eyes.
  1.   If comfortable, think of someone you care about very much who is here with you in your community. It is sometimes easy to bring to mind a child that you love or care about. For you, maybe this is a daughter or son, niece or nephew, or another child you know.

Picture them in your mind. If that is challenging, think of an experience when they made you smile.

  1.   Feel that smile or that love in your heart. Notice what sensations arise in your body, perhaps a feeling of warmth or tingling.

Feel them flowing through your heart. You may not notice any sensations at all, which is completely normal.

Notice if those feelings have a rhythm with your breath. See if you can stay with that feeling as we move through the exercise.

  1.   I am going to say 4 different wishes and I invite you to repeat those in the privacy of your own mind:
  •   May you be happy (pause). Repeat the phrase. May you be happy. Remember this is an aspiration phrase, something you wish for that person even if they don’t feel that way right now.
  •   May you be healthy (pause). Repeat the phrase. May you be healthy.  Notice any changes you feel inside your own body by repeating these words, remembering that you can let go of this practice at any time if it doesn’t feel useful to you.
  •   May you be safe (pause). Repeat the phrase. May you be safe
  •   May you live a life of love (pause). Repeat the phrase. May you live a life of love. Notice any changes you feel inside your own body by repeating these words.
  1.   Now think about yourself. This may be easier or more difficult than thinking about someone else you care about. Now we have the opportunity to extend these same wishes to ourselves, remembering that we can choose at any time to stop this exercise if it does not feel useful.
  •   May I be happy (pause). Repeat the phrase. May I be happy. Remember this is an aspiration phrase, something you wish for yourself even if you don’t feel that way right now.
  •   May I be healthy (pause). Repeat the phrase. May I be healthy.  Notice any changes you feel inside your own body by repeating these words, remembering that you can let go of this practice at any time if it doesn’t feel useful to you.
  •   May I be safe (pause). Repeat the phrase. May I be safe
  •   May I live a life of love (pause). Repeat the phrase. May I live a life of love. Notice any changes you feel inside your own body by repeating these words.
  1.   Now thinking about the group in your current space, or we could also think about our entire community as ‘we,’ let’s explore these same wishes to the collective:
  •   May we be happy (pause). Repeat the phrase. May we be happy. Remember this is an aspiration phrase, something you wish even if it is not true in this moment.
  •   May we be healthy (pause). Repeat the phrase. May we be healthy.  Notice any changes you feel inside your own body by repeating these words, again remembering that you can let go of this practice at any time if it doesn’t feel useful to you.
  •   May we be safe (pause). Repeat the phrase. May we be safe
  •   May we live a life of love (pause). Repeat the phrase. May we live a life of love. Notice any changes you feel inside your own body by repeating these words.
  1.   Drawing your palms together, rub them together to generate some heat. Rub them quickly. After you count to three, place your palms anywhere on your body that would feel useful. (Let participants count to three)

Notice the feeling of energy or heat that comes into the body from your hands.

  1.   Bring your gaze up. When ready, start to look around the room, orienting yourself to the space.

In the privacy of your mind, name what you see. Something as simple as “this is a red poster” or “that is a white curtain.”

Notice your body, your breath and your feelings.

Notice any sensations around your heart and any changes you might observe as a result of this exercise.

 

 

Conclusion

 

This exercise may bring up some challenging emotions and know that this is completely normal. Over time this exercise may become easier and with time you may start to notice differences in yourself and your relationship and connection with other people.