There are days when I know I just need to give myself some love. There are days when someone is frustrating me, I’m having mental arguments with them or I just have a bad feeling about them. Sometimes I may feel concerned about someone I care about who is in distress.
On all of these occasions this is the meditation practice I turn to to cultivate some love for myself and others. By focussing on something that fills you with joy you trigger the physiological sensations of love. Then by sequentially focussing on something you find easy to love and then expanding out to those you find harder to love, you can maintain those loving feelings despite potentially finding it hard to cultivate them right away. It can ease your feelings of helplessness when someone is in distress and it can soothe you when you are in distress yourself.
To start, find a quiet, comfortable place where you feel safe.
Close your eyes and focus your attention to your heart.
Bring to mind something that makes you feel full of joy and love (for me that is always a cat!).
Concentrate on how this feels and focus on building that feeling in your heart.
Keeping that positive image or feeling in mind, start to radiate this loving feeling to the different parts of your body, right from your head to toes.
At this point I say something to myself like ‘may I be well and happy’.
If you need to focus cultivating some self love, leave it at that and keep focusing on yourself- this is not a selfish thing to do!
If you are trying to cultivate some compassion for others then you can start to radiate this positive feeling out to the world around you.
Think first of the people you care most about, other friends and relatives, acquaintances and then lastly people you don’t like.
At this point I say to myself ‘may all beings be well and happy’.
Return the focus gradually to yourself and your surroundings then gently open your eyes.
Take your time to return to what you were doing, allow the peaceful feelings to linger.