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PRACTICE LOVING KINDNESS

WAYS TO CARRY A LOVING STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE By Swami Karasananda (Kathryn Rosypal Romani)

For your own peace of mind, it is wise to strive to be nonjudgmental toward others. People have reasons for doing what they do that you cannot possibly know. They have lessons to learn and sometimes the only way to learn them is the hard way. When we allow other people’s words or actions to affect us, we are allowing them to live rent-free in our mind! That’s not healthy. Try to adopt the Zen attitude of “What is, is” and let the daily annoyances just roll off you like water off a duck’s back. Keep reading and I will get into a practice that will help you do that.


An even greater challenge is to be nonjudgmental toward yourself! It’s much easier to be gentle and compassionate with others because we can assume that they are trying their best. However, being compassionate to our own personality is harder because we know for sure whether or not we are giving OUR best. Instead of just asking yourself, “Am I doing the best that I can do?” temper that query by asking, “Am I doing the best that I can do, at this moment in time, given the circumstances and level of health, knowledge and energy that I have to work with?” Chances are that you ARE doing your best.


One very simple yet highly effective method for achieving a deeper level of gentleness and compassion for others, as well as for yourself, is this Practice of Loving Kindness, also known as the Meta Meditation technique. It is simple, easy to memorize and can be dome anywhere at any time.

THE BENEFITS:

1) Helps to alleviate being judgmental toward yourself and others

2) Cultivates compassion

3) Recognizes your blind spots in dealing with yourself and others

4) Generates a sense of oneness with Life and the entire Universe

5) Increases your awareness of the importance of blessing all sentient life forms

6) Carries a loving kindness state of consciousness into your everyday life

THE PRACTICE - META MEDITATION TECHNIQUE: The Loving Kindness Practice is done by inserting the word “I” or “the name of someone else” in the blanks and declaring the following four statements aloud or mentally:

May _____ be mentally happy.

May _____ be physically happy.

May _____ be safe.

May _____ have ease of well-being.

DEEPER MEANING:

The technique starts with intangible mental happiness: peace of mind, a positive attitude, acceptance, kindness, a loving attitude. Then it moves to the physical: strong, vibrant, active, healthy, healed. Safety covers physical protection and protection from the energy of negative people, negative thoughts and potential danger. It also protects us from making unwise decisions and saying or doing the wrong thing. Being safe encompasses safety from the things in life that cause us difficulty, such as ignorance, bad habits or anything that constricts the expression of our natural creativity and joy.


Ease of well-being is not just contentment; it is good relationships, a harmonious emotional life and a special synchronicity that makes the events in your life go smoothly. Did you ever wake up and have a bad day, when everything seemed to go wrong through no fault of your own? Well, “ease of well-being” is just the opposite: when everything seems to miraculously fall into place perfectly, when great things happen to you seemingly by chance and you feel truly blessed. For example, you may find something of great importance that you misplaced. You might come into contact with people who can change your life for the better. Or you can experience the profoundly positive effects of blessings pouring down upon you serendipitously.

VARIOUS LEVELS: What is nice about the Loving Kindness Practice is that you can keep it as simple as you want, or you can dive into the deeper meaning of this practice by learning about its five levels. Use the practice in whichever way is best for you.

Level 1 is performing the practice for one’s self. Yes, insert the word “I” in the blanks and bless yourself. Observe the feelings that surface when you do this. If you feel selfish or guilty when you bless yourself, this shows that this is exactly the practice you should be doing to overcome a lack of self-esteem.

Level 2 is performing the practice for a benefactor; this could be a teacher, parent, dear friend, guru or anyone who has helped you in a beneficial way.

Level 3 is doing the practice for a friend, spouse or family member – someone close to your heart – or for all of your family and friends at once.

Level 4 is doing the practice for an enemy. If it is difficult to think of someone as an “enemy,” do it for someone who you find to be annoying or irritating. If we cannot bless our enemy, then, in effect, we cannot bless ourself because at a cosmic level, “I am the same as you and you are the same as me; we are one.”

The secret is that blessing your enemy will cause a transformation to occur in you, so that the person can no longer be your enemy. It doesn’t mean that the relationship with them will be instantaneously harmonious. Wisdom may require refraining from encounters with them, but an important positive change will occur mentally within you, at an attitudinal level.

Level 5 is to perform the practice for “all sentient life forms in the Universe” with no exclusions or exceptions, including those we may not typically consider blessing, such as persons we see as evil and animals for which we have a personal distaste (for me, this would be snakes and rodents). If we can raise our consciousness to include in this blessing all of humanity, all kingdoms of nature, all life forms throughout the universe, this will, in turn, make it possible for us to receive the blessings of the Universe – for blessings are like boomerangs, they always return to the sender. Now that you know the various levels, you can see how the Loving Kindness Practice is flexible; it and can be implemented based on what feels right for you, as I touched on above.


THE METHODS: Let the image of the person whom you are blessing arise in your consciousness, say the four-statement blessing aloud or mentally. Let the image dissolve in your mind’s eye. It is important to use the same words, without changing them (except for the person’s name.)

If you encounter any negativity or resistance in your own mind to offering the blessing for someone in particular, acknowledge that “blind spot,” and reflect on it as objectively as possible. Since a blind spot indicates a blockage, it is wise not to ignore it. If guilt, anger or fear are involved, it would be wise to perform the Forgiveness Ritual before doing the Practice of Loving Kindness for them.

Meta Meditation can be practiced throughout the day by offering it silently for each and every person with whom you come into contact, from the chef who prepared your meal, to the nurse who provided you care, to the person living next door, etc. This practice is also beneficial when done for those who have passed on, especially our ancestors. Meta Meditation is an easy-to-grasp, powerful technique that can be done at any time and in any place. It offers many positive benefits - most importantly, your development of greater loving kindness. I hope that you try Meta Meditation and experience its wonderful benefits for yourself. Be thou blessed.


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