The Loving Kindness is a meditation process taken from the Buddhist tradition, though it also has similar traits to practices within other religions such as Christianity, Jainism, Judaism and Hinduism.
Loving Kindness is often referred to as ‘sweetening the mind’ during meditation, preventing it from getting stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts that generate strong negative emotions and distract from the process of meditation. By allowing yourself to clear your mind from negative thoughts you can much more easily reach a calm state of being.
As a species we are often compassionate, kind and loving to other people – but sometimes not to ourselves. It is easy to see someone else’s struggles as being worthy of respect and needing support, but we can be unable to recognise our own needs for care and loving kindness.
If we have a poor mental self-image we can become overly critical, deeming ourselves unworthy and spiralling into negative feedback where nothing we do is good enough, and shame for even trying. It is possible to use the Loving Kindness meditation to rewire habitual negative mind patterns and free yourself from these self-limiting thoughts.
The process of the meditation includes identifying different groups of people with which you have a connection, and being able to recognise that each is worthy of compassion, care and loving kindness: the physical connection within the neural pathways of the brain generates a sensation of Loving Kindness, often described as ‘warm feelings’ towards another. By being able to recognise this mental sensation and practicing engaging that connection to others, and yourself, you can be more positive in your interactions with others and more supportive of yourself. For myself I found it to be the foundation of a strong meditation practice, not allowing my mind to become unsettled by the smallest disturbance or stray thought, recognising that I am human and perfection is what we strive for but can very rarely be achieved.
To recognise yourself as being worthy of compassion and care can be wonderfully freeing: accepting responsibility for your faults and freeing yourself from unobtainable expectations allow you to recognise your strengths and abilities as well as the obstacles you’ve overcome.
If you are interested in the Loving Kindness Workshop in Newcastle Saturday 12.30-15.00, 03.02.18 please click to go to the store below: if you have any questions please just use the contact form to reach me.
Best wishes, Conrad