Meditate on Loving-Kindness
Old patterns and habitual ways are not going to go down without a fight. They may no longer serve us or feed us, but man, do they ever feel familiar and easy.
Striking a new path takes intention, determination, work and community. The part of you that creates intention to change is the knowing part of you. The voice that lives within and truly knows what you need. It may often be drowned out by the busyness of your lives, and old, comfortable ways, but when you are quiet and still, you can hear it. And that voice is what truly feels good and feeds the soul.
For many of us, the voice lives in our hearts. To cultivate your intention toward a new direction, begin by nurturing your heart. Start by treating yourself with loving-kindness. Take time to listen in meditation to what the heart has to offer.
To practice loving-kindness meditation, or Metta meditation, sit quietly in a comfortable way and take a few slow, long breaths with complete exhalations. Feel and imagine the breath moving through your heart.
First practice Metta meditation toward yourself, since, as the adage so truly states, we have to love ourselves before we love others. In your quiet stillness, mentally repeat the following or similar phrases:
May I be safe.
May I be happy.
May I live with ease and well-being.
May I be free from suffering.
After directing this loving-kindness toward yourself, think of a friend or loved one to whom you want to extend this feeling, and repeat the phrasing toward that individual:
May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you live with ease and well-being.
May you be free from suffering.
You may gradually and over time extend this meditation to others in your life, even those who may present you with your greatest challenges, and eventually to all beings everywhere.
What Sets Your Heart Right?
by Jill Sockman
I’ve been busy. Way too busy for way too long. It’s an issue, and I know it, and I’ve slowly been working to change that over the course of the past two years. It’s not an easy shift to make when your schedule is created 18+ months in advance, so slow and steady it’s been, accepting with patience (-ish) that there are wheels set in motion and the best I can do is to continue to look for opportunities to create space.
So, it’s Monday morning, the first of the month. That means there’s a newsletter to finish, payroll to do, accounting to get caught up on…private sessions, meetings… it’s a busy day. So what? Your day is busy too. Tomorrow will be busy as well.
I meant to get online to write this last night, I really did, but I was tired and thought “just wait, you’ll be fresher in the morning!” While this is probably true, there is a whole day of doings waiting for me. I feel the pressure (all self-induced but pressure all the same) to get rolling. No wonder Atlas was all bent over. This world is heavy to carry around.
Reaching for my computer I thought, “I’ll get my practice in later” to which I actually heard laughter. There is a reason I get up and do my practice before I do anything else. And that is because I have been doing this for many, many years and have experimented with other ways, with no success. Ever. My practice happens first thing in the morning because it won’t happen any other time. For precisely the reasons above. And if I think that I’m too busy first thing in the morning to sit for a hot minute and set myself right for the day, it’s surely not going to happen later in that busy day. Let me repeat. Not. Going. To. Happen. And furthermore, when it doesn’t happen? Well, I’m no good to anyone for anything. And I know it. So to the mat I went.
What is that thing that you need on a daily basis to be the best version of you? Maybe it’s a yoga practice of some kind, or perhaps prayer, journaling, silent reflection, devotional reading, time in nature… I don’t mean getting in your workout or eating a healthy breakfast. I’m asking you to think about what is it that sets your heart right for the day? What clears the path from your busy goal-oriented brain to your grateful, inspired soul? And are you making 5-15-60-90 minutes to do it? Every day? To remind yourself who you are, who you want to be, what you’re grateful for and how you want to live in this world? Because if you’re not making it a priority, a whole lot of life can slide by before you recognize that you’ve wandered off the path you want to walk.
You are the only you in the world. Connecting to your unique purpose and the source of the abundance in your life is essential if you are going to make your contribution in the limited time we’ve got. Don’t waste a single day.