Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

How I Realized That Loving-Kindness Meditation Increases Intuition

By Soulthriller

woman meditating

Editor’s Note: This is a guest contribution from Carolyn Elliott

I’m sitting in a circle, listening to a stranger speak. He’s talking in broad and casual terms about rough stuff: life on the streets, his problems with his crazy girlfriend, his own prowess at stealing and hustling. As he’s talking something odd happens. It’s as if I’m learning things about him that aren’t in his words; every sentence he speaks carries another layer of meaning.

This second layer hits me directly, not intellectually but emotionally: the wounded fear underlying his bragging; the immense love and admiration for his girlfriend; the terror of standing for hours on a bleak corner in the rain, shadowed by competitors and cops. The emotions come wrapped up in images that aren’t movie-screen obvious but subtle and fleeting, like a dream. He stops speaking.

Another person starts, and the same thing happens. As I listen, I’m learning all kinds of things that the speaker isn’t stating. And what’s more, I feel a fluid warmth and opening in the center of my chest. I feel it right in the spot my New Age enthusiast friends like to call my “heart chakra.”

The fluid warmth is coming to me from the speaker, and it’s leaving me and going out from my heart to his. I’m not just receiving information and energy, I’m also broadcasting it. The person talking brightens. It’s as if he feels what I can feel: the flow of life stuff moving between us. To call it just “energy” doesn’t seem satisfactory. It’s not mere electricity, it’s a force that also carries images and insights. A more accurate and poetic term might be “soul.”

So what gives? Why is this happening? Usually when I listen to folks talk I just hear what they say, if even that. I’m often too wrapped up in my own mental drama and too worried about my own life to receive the subtle emanations given off by those around me. So wrapped up that until this weird stuff started happening, I didn’t even realize that people give off subtle emanations!

But they totally do.

I gradually realized that the reason I could access another layer of perception and insight regarding people in my life (even relative strangers) was that I’d been practicing loving-kindness meditation.

Loving-kindness meditation developed thousands of years ago in the Buddhist tradition as a means of cultivating bodhicitta, or “mind/heart of awakening.”

How does it work? It involves silently bringing to mind first a friend, then a neutral person, then a difficult person, and finally, oneself. For each person that one brings to mind (including oneself), one expresses the wish “May they be happy; may they be well; may they be free from suffering.” The idea is to spend at least five minutes wishing happiness for each person you bring to mind. I supplement my verbal well-wishing by visualizing each person in a situation of extreme outer pleasantness and inner joy.

When I first started practicing loving-kindness meditation, I encountered plenty of inner resistance. I found it very hard to visualize and to wish happiness for the difficult people in my life. I only persisted in doing it because the pain of my resentment and bitterness was too much. I trusted that loving-kindness meditation could cure me of my unforgiveness, so I stuck with it.

After hanging in with loving-kindness meditation for a little while, I noticed that not only did it become a lot easier—it also became incredibly pleasurable and energizing to do. I would get so riled up and excited through it that I had to be sure I only did it first thing in the morning and never in the evening because it would make me totally unable to sleep!

Along with the influx of energy that loving-kindness meditation brought me came this new experience of intuition. I was surprised to later learn that scientific research by the HeartMath Institute verifies my experience (to read the research reports you’ll need to create a free account and go to their “papers” page). Subjects in HeartMath Institute studies report a consistent expansion of intuitive perception when they spend time cultivating affects like appreciation and well-wishing for others.

This. Is. So. Weird.

I continually think that to myself—it’s so strange that powerful extra-sensory perception can be activated just through the cultivation of love. I always thought that in order to become intuitive I’d have to master some fancy moves on the astral plane. How come no one ever told me growing up that all it takes to become much more connected and much more perceptive is to spend time each day wishing whole-heartedly for the happiness of others?

The only thing I can do to remedy the sadness of my own long-term ignorance in this regard is to spread the word as loudly and widely as I can. So I’m telling you now. Loving-kindness meditation works powerfully and quickly to enlarge your extra-sensory intuition. Give it a try—and please write to me letting me know of your adventures. I’d love to hear what you discover.

carolyn elliot small

Carolyn Elliott is the author of Awesome Your Life: The Artist’s Antidote to Suffering Genius and a life coach for creatives dedicated to serving the 99% and living in the spirit of the gift.

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