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Loving-Kindness: Learn to Befriend Ourselves, Others, and Our Experiences

Through our attitudes and choices we create our reality.

 

Perhaps you've momentarily forgotten your own inner loveliness. Take a few minutes to step out of your present despair and discouragement and allow yourself to cultivate a warm and gentle feeling for yourself. This will help you emotionally flower and blossom from within.

 

Start and prepare yourself—by opening up your heart—calming and clearing your mind. Consider spending a few minutes with breathing meditation. Use these phrases when self-criticism arises in your life and you find that one part of your mind wants to beat up on you. There's truth in the saying that I heard at a 12-step meeting, "I was walking down the street and my mind mugged me!" Transform the Self-punishing Inner Voice

 

Begin with loving aspirations for yourself and all other people. Be gentle and tender. With warmth consider:

 

Let all the love in, just like a pleasant breeze on a really hot day. As you do, many small shifts in self acceptance occur until an inner welling up of love for yourself happens...ah...ooh...yum!

 

 “Peace be to my mind, let all my thoughts be still.”

 

Go slow. Take Time to Really FEEL These Statements.

Plant the seeds of intention and trust nature will take its course.

 

May I water the seeds of loving-kindness in the "green house" of my being.

Whatever mind states I water...are what grows!

I am committed to finding the road to freedom!

 

·      May I remember that I am safe.  I am cared for.  I am loved and all is well in my world...ah.

·     May I soften towards myself.

·     May I honor my whole being.

·     May I love all of who I am.

·     May I be present to and accepting of myself.

·     May I live with ease.

·     May I accept myself exactly as I am and as I am not.

·     May I learn about my strengths.

·     May I be kind to me and others.

·     May I let go of thoughts of self-judgment and fears of being inadequate and not measuring up.

·     May I become an intimate, kind, and friendly force for myself. I intend with my whole being to cultivate and grow a heart that is intimate with my life and all of life.

·     May I receive all the love and tenderness--multiplied numerous times--that I give to others.

·     May I free my heart from all suffering, pain, and distress.

·     May I release myself from all that would harm me or my relationship with other people.

·     May I celebrate my life!

·     May I experience deep, true affection (attention) from all people and may I give deep, true affection (attention) to all people.

·     May I deeply know I am loved and that I AM love!

·     May I be completely present in my own life.

·     May I take time to marvel at the tiny violet that creeps up through a crack in the pavement, as it reminds me of the tenacious persistence of life.

·     May I know that I am worthy to experience complete self-love and affection.

·     May I experience inner and outer abundance in every area of my life.

·     May I (and all people) have mental happiness and be in touch with my own loveliness!

·     May I relate skillfully to the torments of my mind that arise.

·     May I be peaceful and contented.

·     May I be liberated and experience freedom.

·     May I remember the universal kindness which surrounds me at every moment.

·     May I experience giggles and tickles of playfulness--to take things lightly and not be SO serious!

·     May I take time to read the love letters sent by the snow and the rain, the sun and the moon, the trees, creeks, birds, frogs, bugs, and the pungent delight of lovely flowers!

·     May I have physical happiness—the enjoyment of health, freedom from physical pain—and live in harmony with my body, mind, and spirit.

·     May I receive any pain with friendliness and patience, thereby not transform physical pain into mental  torment.

·     May I be healthy and be healed of any dis-ease.

·     May I make a “friend of my body” and treat it like a beloved pet.

·     May I know that I am worthy to experience complete self-love and affection and that there is no one on earth who is more deserving of love than me.

·     May everyone release from all that harms them or others.

·     May I readily experience friendship with myself (all of me)...a great embrace...ah.

·     May I be on my own side and not betray me any more. Betrayal stops now!

·     May all beings have the conditions to come to freedom!

·     May all beings benefit from the merits of my practice today.

(Many of these thoughts are typical Buddhist phrases and I added additional ones. They encourage kindness towards ourselves and others)

 

Suggestions For the Use of Loving-Kindness Phrases

 

 

                               From the Talmud. Shared on a friendship card from lovely Carmen Marcía!

 

Consider the more you extend kindness to yourself, the more it will become your automatic response to others. Cultivate the intention: I choose the path of kindness!

 

When you are at peace with yourself and love yourself, it is virtually impossible to be self-destructive. Cultivate the intention: I love myself (as I am and as I am not) -- in body, mind, and spirit.

 

Consider the state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind. Cultivate the intention: I develop a positive state of mind!

 

May all people have ease of mind.

May all people have comfort of heart.

May all people abide in love and compassion.

 

 

As you begin your journey of self-exploration, I encourage you to practice kindness—to be kind to the being that lives inside of your skin!

 

A wonderful book Loving-Kindness- The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, by Sharon Salzberg, (1997), Shambhala Publishers, Boston & London Available from www.amazon.com Other books by Sharon are: Faith : Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, A Heart as Wide as the World, and Insight Meditation: A Step-By-Step Course on How to Meditate, plus audio CD's.

Talks by Sharon Salzberg at Seattle Insight Meditation Society: http://seattleinsight.org/Teachers/GuestTeacher/tabid/88/TeacherID/25/Default.aspx  and other teachers: http://seattleinsight.org/Teachers/GuestTeachers/tabid/109/Default.aspx
 

 

Sharon shares on page 26 of the importance of cultivating a warm, embracing relationship with ourselves:

For a true spiritual transformation to flourish, we must see beyond this tendency to mental self-flagellation. Spirituality based on self-hatred becomes martyrdom. Morality born of self-hatred becomes rigid repression. Love for others without the foundation of love for ourselves becomes a loss of boundaries, codependency, and a painful and fruitless search for intimacy."

 

Several excellent books to nurture compassion are: Start Where You Are - a guide to compassionate living ,When Things Fall Apart - heart advice for difficult times, Wisdom Of No Escape,  By Pema Chodron, (1994), Shambhala, Publications All of Pema’s books provide earthy, honest advice—as if from your loving grandmother.
 

 

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Kindness

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