In dire times like these, who or where do you turn to find peace and solace?
For me, it's meditation. I've been practicing meditation "on and off" since I was 21 years young. I am probably what you could call a yo-yo meditator. There have been periods in my life when my practice is daily and others when I fall flat. It's only when I start feeling like crappity-crap that I return to my practice. Just like the prodigal son, I seeking refuge in the arms of my daily meditation. It takes 7 days of continuous practice to start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
One of the key reasons I've been in a meditation yo-yo diet was partly because I didn't practice the correct type of meditation. I've tried Vipassana- I found it a little dry, the body scanning technique was grueling even for me. Tantra Visualization - too intense in the visualization aspect, Transcendental - too hard to follow through it... you name it. They all have taught me something, but for some reason, none of them stuck to me.
It was 3 years ago that I swiped right on my mediation better half. I found it when I was reading the incredible book Real Love by Sharon Salzberg (a must-read!) she talks about Metta meditation also called Loving-Kindness meditation, I went on to learn a bit more, practiced (still do) and started to experience the world through truly kinder eyes. In Metta or Loving-kindness I found the perfect balance of guided meditation, gentle visualization, and silence.
The simple practice of directing well-wishes towards other people and myself gave me the tools to take a conscious step back and experience the world around me, my interactions with strangers and even with myself in a more meaningful way.
So here's how the meditation works - I hope you try it!
It starts with these 3 key phrases:
May I be healthy and strong. May I be happy. May I be filled with ease.
Loving-kindness meditation is a simple repetition of these phrases but directing them at different people.
- Start with directing the phrases towards yourself: May I be happy.
- Next, direct the Metta towards someone you feel thankful for or someone who has helped you.
- Now visualize someone you feel neutral about—people you neither like nor dislike. This one can be harder than you’d think: It makes me realize how quick we can be to judge or categorize people in our lives as either positive or negative.
- Ironically, the next one can be easier: visualizing the people you don't like or who you are having a hard time with.
- Finally, direct the Metta universally towards everyone: "May all beings everywhere be happy."
I'd love to hear from you and your experience, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lots of love ♡