Tag Archives: loving-kindness

emotional awareness

Following my practices last week with Sharon Salzberg’s loving-kindness meditations, I have been looking online for information on the loving-kindness meditation.

I came across the website Wildmind, which is a website on Buddhist meditation. It has a section devoted to metta, the Buddhist name for loving-kindness, which I have found really helpful.

So far I have read the first sub-section, Introduction to lovingkindness meditation, which describes what the loving-kindness meditation is (and isn’t!) and the benefits that can come from practising it. While I’m not a Buddhist, I am very interested in their meditations as the well-acknowledged roots of modern mindfulness, so I’ve found the guidance on the website really interesting. I plan to work through the remaining sub-sections on the website in order, trying out the meditations offered wherever possible. This was what formed the basis for my mindfulness practice today.

This evening I began reading the second sub-section, Ways of Cultivating Metta, which discusses the importance of not forcing feelings of loving-kindness or expecting instant results from meditation, but instead allowing it to develop naturally, however long that takes. It is important to develop emotional awareness as a basis for the organic cultivation of loving-kindness, and to that end the web-page features an Emotional Awareness practice.

The practice began with a body scan of sorts, where I moved the focus of my awareness around my body, starting at the feet and releasing tension from each body part before moving on to the next one. I have to say I enjoyed this and found it really relaxing, which I know is not the aim of mindfulness practice but is certainly a welcome gift when it comes! I could feel the tension in my body disappearing as the practice progressed, and I felt like I was sinking into soft goo as I moved the focus of my attention up my body.

After the body scan element I was directed to bring my attention to my breath, just to see what I felt there. I continued to feel relaxed and calm. In fact, I think I felt so relaxed that my concentration began to drop off. I think this could be because I was tired, as I did the practice at about nine thirty at night, and it meant that my mind started to wander and I have relatively little memory of the end of the practice. I do know that I continued to do slow, calm breathing after the guided meditation had ended, which left me feeling very drowsy. I do think that writing this practice up has revived my brain up a bit!

Overall I really enjoyed this practice and I’m keen to listen to it again and hopefully remain more alert so I can get more out of the meditation; perhaps that will be tomorrow’s goal. Beyond that, I’m excited to read further in the Wildmind section on loving-kindness!

Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash


mindfulness that led to amazing dreams?

For my mindfulness today, I listened to Guided Loving-kindness Meditation from Sharon Salzberg from the mindful podcast, linked to in this article.

It’s a 45 minute long podcast that starts with an initial discussion of loving-kindness, which is also known as metta in Buddhism (and during this podcast). This is followed by an extended loving-kindness meditation. The article helpfully has the whole podcast pretty much transcribed, so if you’ve read it you can skip to 10:00 for the actual guided practice.

I listened to the podcast lying down in my bed during the mid-afternoon, having just written up my blog post for yesterday’s practice. Going into the practice I felt alert and excited to try this kind of extended loving-kindness practice. I have a little experience already with some loving-kindness meditations from courses I’ve attended, but they haven’t usually lasted more than ten minutes.

Initially, I was directed to repeat loving-kindness statements that described what I wished for myself. I began with a range but ended up settling on two that spoke to me most:

May I have physical health.

May I have mental happiness.

Next, Salzberg suggested aiming the statements towards a ‘benefactor’ – someone who had helped me. Immediately a lady came to mind who has made a huge difference in my life recently, acting with so much kindness and helping me to really get into volunteering work. I spent the next period of silence directing my loving-kindness thoughts at her.

The next focus was on someone who a is good friend. I thought of one of my housemates and directed my kindness towards her.

By the next suggestion, I was feeling quite sleepy and I can’t remember well what happened for either the suggestion to send my loving-kindness towards someone neutral or someone I have a difficulty with. As I struggle to know who I chose to focus on, I feel like I may have fallen asleep. I do remember hearing the bell signalling the end of the practice but that may have simply woken me up.

Immediately after the practice I felt so relaxed and calm that I fell asleep (again!). While I slept, I had a number of moving dreams, centring around music and feeling accepted.

In one of them, three musicians I love were all singing and when the fourth, one of my favourites, joined in, the songs all came together into a beautiful piece of living music. It felt really amazing.

On awaking I felt full of love and wonder. I don’t usually read into my dreams, but these dreams felt so joyful that part of me wonders if they were catalysed by the loving-kindness meditation I did immediately before falling asleep.

Either way, I really enjoyed my experience of today’s practice and the following happy dreams. I definitely feel refreshed and ready to use my evening!

Have any of you ever felt like your dreams were influenced by your mindfulness practice?

Photo by jill111 on Pixabay

working with noise and loving-kindness

My mindfulness today was done by listening to podcasts in town. I was in the relatively busy marketplace, with cars going past and people chatting, so I decided to do some work on mindfulness of noise.

I listened to a podcast called How to Meditate with Noise: A 3-Minute Practice for Anywhere by mindful (linked to in this article). I listened to it with one earphone in and one ear free to act as a microphone, picking up the noises I could hear (an ambulance screaming into the distance, chatting people, a motorbike growling past) and focusing on simply listening and not trying to identify them.

The sun felt so warm on my back while I was sitting in the marketplace, and it reminded me of the sensation I get from loving-kindness meditations, so I decided to listen to one of those too.

I listened to Loving-Kindness Meditation from Sharon Salzberg – The Mindful Practice Podcast from mindful (on Soundcloud here, transcript here). It was more instructive, describing the steps that make up a loving-kindness meditation rather than slowly guiding me through one. I listened to the podcast and then followed the instructions, silently repeating thoughts that described my kind wishes towards myself as I walked on to my next commitment.

May I be happy.

May I be safe.

May I share joy with others.

May I have physical health.

May I feel calm.

I didn’t manage to attempt the visualisation section, but I will leave that for another time. I did find that doing the loving kindness meditation on the way to my next activity left me with a little more energy and ability to cope with a more testing person – indeed I have decided to use this person as someone to wish good things for when I next do the loving-kindness meditation described in the book Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari. More on that to come soon!

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