What is Loving Kindness?
Loving kindness is a mindfulness practice designed to increase love and compassion first for ourselves and then for our loved ones, for friends, for those we are angry with, for difficult people, for enemies, and then for all beings. Loving kindness can protect us from developing and holding on to judgementalness, ill will, and hostile feelings towards ourselves and others.
Practising Loving Kindness
Practising living kindness is like saying a prayer for yourself or someone else. As when you are asking or praying for something for yourself or others, you actively send living and kind wishes, and recite in your mind words and phrases that express good will towards yourself and others.
Loving Kindness Instructions
- Choose a person to send living kindness toward. Do not select a person you do not want to relate to with kindness and compassion. Start with yourself, or if this is too difficult, with a person you already love.
- Sitting, standing, or lying down, begin by breathing slowly and deeply. Opening the palms of your hands, gently bring the person to mind.
- Radiate loving kindness by reciting a set of warm wishes, such as “May I be happy,” “May I be at peace,” “May I be healthy,” “May I be safe,” or another set of positive wishes of your own. Repeat the script slowly, and focus on the meaning of each word as you say it in your mind. (If you have distracting thoughts, just notice them as they come and go and gently bring your mind back to your script). Continue until you feel yourself immersed in loving kindness.
- Gradually work yourself up through loved ones, friends, those you are angry with, difficult people, enemies, and finally all beings. For example, use a script such as “May John be happy,” “May John be at peace,” and so on (of John, may you be happy,” “May you be at peace,” and so on), as you concentrate on radiating loving kindness to John.
- Practice each day, starting with yourself and then moving to others.
Be loving and kind.