Week Four: Loving Kindness

Love isn’t a feeling, it’s an ability

Back in the time when Charlotte was a baby, and the fanciest camera around was the one on Daphne’s cellphone…

Today we’re going to talk about the fourth and also the last week in Sharon Salzberg’s meditation program.
In this week loving kindness is the central theme.

Loving kindness is a meditation in which we pay attention to ourself and other people, with a caring mindset. Compassion plays a very important role in this meditation.

The aim is the add a sixth meditation session of 20 minutes to your weekly schedule (needless to say I never succeeded in this, feel free to try it though!).

This week’s main exercise consists of five parts.
First were going to apply loving kindness on ourselves, secondly on someone we know well and has been a real support for us, thirdly on someone we know well and who’s going through a rough time, after this on someone we don’t really know all that well and finally on someone we’re having a difficult relationship with.

Every time I do a loving kindness session my mum is in there somewhere,
she can really use some loving kindness right now, so I hope it’ll do her good

We always use the same mantra:

May I be safe, may I be happy,
may I be healthy, may I live with ease

Needless to say that if you’re ‘sending’ loving kindness to other people, you use ‘you’ instead of ‘I’

I have to admit this will make you feel very awkward at first, especially when saying this mantra for yourself, but it does get better.
I’ve also noticed that being able to ‘say’ something helps me to stay focused.

I’m still not really comfortable with this kind of meditation and I tend to stick to body and emotion scans, one exercise of loving kindness I do apply frequently is an exercise that tries to calm your inner critic: it makes you think of a ‘bad’ experience and focus on the emotional and physical feelings this experience conjures up. Instead of thinking about the situation as ‘bad’, we’re going to try to look at it as something ‘painful’, approach it with compassion and friendliness and then look at the emotional and physical reactions on this approach.

This exercise really opens your eyes, it makes you realise how harsh you can be on yourself.
It also shows you that ,although the situation stays the same, a different approach on a difficult situation can really make a difference in how you’ll feel about it.

Showing my affection for animals is obviously no problem, now I have to learn to apply this on people as well…

With the end of week four, we have come to the end of the meditation program, there are still  some posts on how to keep on meditating and mini- meditations planned though.


Other posts on this subject:
Real Happiness: the Power of Meditation
Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation – Introductory Post
Week One: Concentration
Week Two: Mindfulness and the Body
Week Three: Mindfulness and Emotions


3 responses to “Week Four: Loving Kindness

  1. This post was the most useful to me in the series. (First, beautiful portrait of your mother).
    Your got me thinking about why we are so kind to Nigel and Mona and not able to easily transfer that to people – I think we see their “trespasses” as lacking intention. Nigel did not INTEND to eat my favorite bra last week nor he doesn’t INTEND to interrupt my studies with his crying – however, when someone turns around and says something mean about him, I immediately think subconsciously – “You intended to harm me.” Most, if not all people don’t want to cause harm and even if they do, it doesn’t matter – I want to “live with ease” and maybe a different approach will create that. Thanks for the advice!

  2. Absolutely. I assure you though, Nigel is judging with his Winston Churchill face:)

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