Metta – Loving-Kindness Meditation
This is an excellent meditation based on building a sense of loving kindness and wishes of wellbeing for all. Sit in a comfortable and relaxed position, and take two or three deep breaths with slow, long and complete exhalations, then breathe naturally. Next, place your attention on the area in the middle of your chest, around your heart and quietly, mentally repeat, slowly and steadily, the following (or similar phrases):
May I be well.
May I be peaceful.
May I be loved.
May my heart be filled with love.
May I be happy.
While you say these phrases, keeping your focus on the core of the body, try to notice feelings of pleasant sensations and allow yourself to enjoy the experience of filling your body with love. Allow yourself to sink into the intentions the phrases express.
After a short period of directing loving-kindness toward yourself, bring into your mind someone you like a lot and respect. Then slowly repeat phrases of loving-kindness toward them:
May you be well.
May you enjoy peace, and harmony.
May you feel loved.
May you be happy.
If the words are too many for you, mentally repeating, “May you be happy” is also fine.
Next, bring to mind someone else you like and respect, and send them these feelings of warmth and compassion with the above phrases or others similar. As you continue the meditation, you can bring to mind other friends, neighbours, acquaintances, strangers, animals, and finally people with whom you have difficulty. Perhaps someone you got irritated with recently, or if you wish, someone who has hurt you in the past. You might not want to do this early in your practice of loving-kindness, and if feelings such as anger, grief, or sadness may arise, remember that there is no need to judge yourself for having these feelings. Take these to be signs that your heart is softening.
You may want to work towards including someone you carry bitterness, hatred or resentment towards, remembering also that you are not condoning or approving of what their actions, simply allowing yourself to let go of any pain or ill-will you carry towards them. This pain and anger only hurts you. Replacing it with feelings of love and compassion will be like applying a soothing balm on any emotional wounds, and results in your own peace, your own heart being filled with love, and ultimately your genuine happiness. Radiate the warmth and love to all the beings around you, and finally return the attention to yourself. Return to the sensations through the core of the body, and the air flowing into your lungs. Return to your body and the rich soundscape in which you sit; and open your eyes.
A Deep Breath of Fresh Energy.
As simple as it sounds, this quick and easy technique can energise, motivate and brighten up any moment.
Combining mindfulness meditation of the breath with some imagination, focus your concentration on the feeling of the air enter your lungs as you take a slow deep breath. Explore the sensations as the air brings new life pouring into the body. Notice how the ribs expand and feel the pulsating heart propel fresh oxygenated blood through the body. Vibrant fresh energy radiates from the heart and lungs to fill the chest, then it continues outwards and up to the mind. The next deep breath opens the lungs and further illuminates the chest cavity with a bright energy.
Subsequent deep breaths bring evermore fresh air to your lungs and as the cells absorb the oxygen, feel the bright energy radiating from the lungs and pouring down through the legs, across into your arms and up to the brain. When the whole body is glowing and clear of negativity, your aura is invincible.
These can be done at almost any time and can take a variety of forms. Use your imagination and try and have reminders to try a mini-mediation scattered around your desk or workplace until they become more naturally occurring. Here are some examples from an unlimited selection:
Take ten seconds – Step back from the hectic mists of life and observe the situation as it really is. Stop what you are doing and consider: What good could come of this situation? What are you feeling? What is the mind thinking or saying? Pause for 10 seconds to regain control of the mind and quieten the irrational or negative thoughts.
Five Why’s – A common problem solving tool that can be applied to any situation, from analysing the thoughts and feeling of an event, to considering alternative or less obvious factors. Question something with “Why is this so?” five times.
Mindfulness – Spend a short moment observing and understanding the sensations of the body. What thoughts are prominent? What can you hear? What can you feel? How does your body feel? What else can you feel? What ELSEcan you feel? Is your body happy, or frustrated by something? When you identify a negative feeling, just be aware of it and allow the negativity to dissolve. Try to regularly nurture the thoughts from awareness of sensations to appreciation of them and finally to gratitude for them.
Take three deep conscious breaths – Focus on the increased oxygen bringing more efficient blood to the brain to see more clearly. The stresses and worries of the situation will diminish. Deeper breaths directly reduce Cortisol levels in the blood (the stress hormone).
As often as possible, acknowledge to yourself and to someone else, how good a current moment is. How lucky you are to be alive on Earth…exactly where you are…exactly how your are, exactly then. Telling someone else more than doubles the positive effects of a good moment!
Repeat “I am here”. Focus on the words and allow the mind to discover what they mean.
Allow 30 seconds to consider how your present situation could be significantly worse. Only at the end return to the reality of the present moment and be grateful that it isn’t how it could be.
More Formal Meditation Practices
The above techniques are quick and effective “informal” meditation practices. More traditional meditation tends to work at a deeper level to achieve more tangible and lasting results. To cleanse the mind, on a deeper level, at least 15 minutes per day (or as often as you remember) of silent dedicated concentration will be very effective.
Information and courses on practices such as mindfulness-meditation, Vipassana, and other meditation practices are readily available on-line and may form part of your personal happiness coaching plan from A Good Way To Think.
Get in touch to find out more!