I'm taking a weekly class on meditation and cultivating compassion. One of the practices is to repeat time-honored phrases of lovingkindness (aka metta or maitri in Buddhist traditions) to oneself, such as "May I be happy. May I be free from suffering. May I know peace and joy" in meditation and throughout the day. The words can be changed, depending on your needs, but I've stuck with these basic, easy-to-remember phrases for now. We also "send" these phrases to others, known and unknown, in our lives in order to remind ourselves of our common humanity.
Although I don't necessarily feel the emotions of happiness, ease, peace, and joy when silently saying these phrases, with practice I'm now more likely to catch myself in the midst of a negative story in my mind and switch to saying these words of blessing and hope instead. This practice has especially helped me to defuse frustration while driving and to wake up from sad mental stories while taking a shower or doing housework.
You can find lovingkindess meditation instructions from many teachers. I especially like those offered in the works of Sharon Salzberg (e.g., Lovingkindness) and Pema Chödrön (e.g., The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness).
May you be happy. May you be free from suffering. May you know peace and joy.
What are you noticing about the stories in your mind today? Might you direct compassion toward yourself?
for Mindful Monday
© 2014, post, Donna Pierce
Photo credit: 余文麟, 2007. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%E4%B8%AD%E8%88%88%E6%96%B0%E6%9D%91%E8%8D%B7%E8%8A%B1%E5%AD%A3.JPG
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