Happy Valentine’s Day! – And a Loving Kindness Meditation

Let’s talk about love. Real love. Not the kind of love where you give someone candy on V-day because you’re kind of into them. I’m talking about the kind of love where you genuinely wish the best for someone simply because they’re a fellow human being.

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I’m taking a class right now that’s taught by a really great, down-to-earth professor. She knows a lot about death, grief, hope, love, and mindfulness. Each evening before class discussion starts, we do a mindfulness meditation. This week’s was so fitting, that I thought I would share it with you. It’s one of my particular favorites, and I use it a lot in my social work practice when I have a client who just rubs me the wrong way. So here goes:

Make sure you’re sitting comfortably, and close your eyes. Pay attention to your breathing for a minute or two. Then say these words in your head to yourself, allowing yourself enough time to truly experience the emotion behind them:

May I be safe and free from harm. May I be happy and at peace. May I be healthy and strong. May I be at ease in the world.

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Take a few deep breaths, and now think of someone who you have neutral feelings about. This might be a bus driver, the neighbor a few houses down whom you barely know, or the barrista who makes your coffee each morning. Then say these words in your head to that person, giving yourself time to truly mean what you’re saying:

May you be safe and free from harm. May you be happy and at peace. May you be healthy and strong. May you be at ease in the world.

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Again, take a few cleansing breaths. Now picture someone who you feel warmth towards, perhaps a friend or a family member. Say these words to them in your head:

May you be safe and free from harm. May you be happy and at peace. May you be healthy and strong. May you be at ease in the world. 

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Here comes the hardest part. Think of someone who challenges you. Someone you really don’t like. Someone who is your enemy. Hold this person in your heart, and say these words to them, really trying your hardest to mean them:

May you be safe and free from harm. May you be happy and at peace. May you be healthy and strong. May you be at ease in the world. 

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After a few closing breaths, open your eyes. How do you feel? Refreshed? Warm? Relaxed? Peaceful?

The most rewarding thing about this exercise might be the immediate shift in perspective that it can create. Consider the person who is your enemy. Would they really be your enemy if they were safe, free from harm, happy, at peace, healthy, strong, and at ease in the world? Probably not. They’re probably your enemy because they are struggling with things. Maybe they aren’t happy. Maybe they’re feeling weak. Maybe they’re not at ease in the world they live in. By wishing good things for them, you warm your heart towards them, which is sure to make your next interaction with them a much more positive  experience.

You can see how the benefits of this process are two fold. I like to call this type of activity selfish-kind. Yes, you’re being kind to others by sending loving thoughts into a struggling world, but you’re also helping yourself by relaxing, relieving stress, and taking a few minutes to feel connected to other people.

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So readers, love yourself, love your friends and family, love some strangers, and try your hardest to love your enemies. Love and kindness always creates more love and kindness.

9 thoughts on “Happy Valentine’s Day! – And a Loving Kindness Meditation

  1. Alison, what a great post! This was so insightful and very refreshing to read first thing in the morning. And great blog in general, by the way!

  2. Thank you so much for reminding me of this meditation! It is one of my favorites and I had forgotten all about somehow this year. I will be putting it to good practice again now! Thanks to you!
    I already feel more at peace just thinking about practicing it.
    I love you!

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