In the midst of busy academic work, I have started to go to the Buddhist Meditation Group’s weekly meetings on Monday evenings.
Our topic today is cultivating loving kindness — the ability to love ourselves and to deliver love and kindness to people around us. In today’s session, Sumi guided us through a meditation which consists of three steps.
As a first step, we tried to think of someone who love and care for us unconditionally. It can be a mentor, an elder, or a peer. Picture how they look and position them in a situation where they appear to be happy. Then concentrate your energy, “say” to them the following four sentences:
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be safe.
May you be peaceful. (You can change it to another sentence as you wish)
The second step is to think of a friend who really cares about and admires you. This is meant to develop loving and kindness towards yourself. Again, visualize this person, then think about something nice you have done recently (e.g. helping someone carry a heavy bag) and what it says about you. Then say the four sentences to yourself.
The third and final step is to think of a “neutral person”, someone who you don’t like or dislike. It can be the safeguard in your apartment complex, or the cashier at a restaurant you often go to. Picture that person, and wish them happy, healthy, safe, and peaceful.
At the end of the meditation, we also extended our loving kindness to everyone who was in the room and said the four sentences to all of us. This made me particularly happy — I feel blessed as a result of collective loving kindness.
Next week we are going to talk about cultivating loving kindness towards difficult people (of which there is an endless supply). I’m really looking forward to that.