Fitness Magazine

A Time for Loving Kindness

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by Bridget

A Time for Loving Kindness

Full moon by Steve Jones

Heading into the winter holidays, with the temperature turning down, the pandemic speeding up, and with extended (or chosen) family time put on hold, I am filled with a great sense of appreciation for what I do have. I’ve also been thinking about the political divide here in the US (which is actually not unique to our country), and concentrating on ways to use empathic listening with a focus on love, to at least find a gentle acceptance within my own mind for these incredible differences in seeing the world. Sometimes it's hard to imagine that we all look up at the same moon in the sky. All of this leads me to the focus of this post, Loving Kindness meditation.

More commonly known as a popular form of Buddnhist meditation, the Loving Kindness meditation, known as Metta, also exists in the yoga tradition, where it is known as Maitrī in Sanskrit. According to Wikipedia, maitrī means benevolence, loving kindness, friendliness, amity, good will, and active interest in others. It is the first of the four sublime states (or Brahmaviharas).

In a nutshell, the Loving Kindness meditation is this:

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

May you be happy, May you be healthy, May you be safe, May you live with ease.

May we be happy, May we be healthy, May we be safe, May we live with ease.

It takes some effort to have this kind sense of the world. For some of us, it’s difficult to even have such feelings for ourselves. It seems easier to have feelings like this for loved ones, but what about the guy on the freeway that just cut you off or the politician who just cancelled a program you were dependent upon? There are countless articles and videos on how to go about training your mind to have loving kindness for all. I’m including a few here, if you’re interested in exploring what various types of Loving Kindness meditation might do for you:

  • Loving Kindness meditation, video by Sharon Salzberg
  • A recent article in The Washington Post
  • Post on Accessible Yoga Blog by Nina Zolotow, about spending time while washing hands, not singing the songs that have been recommended, but instead focused on Loving Kindness
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