You can open up to the possibility of caring for others not just because you like them, admire them, or are indebted to them, but because your lives are inextricably linked. By practicing loving-kindness meditation, you can learn to see the lives of others as related to your own. It means you can open up to the possibility of caring for others not just because you like them, admire them, or are indebted to them, but because your lives are inextricably linked. A Loving-Kindness Practice to Connect with Others Use this practice to recover your innermost knowledge of that linkage, dissolve barriers you have been upholding, and genuinely awaken to how connected we all are. When you think of them, they make you smile. Say their name to yourself, and silently offer these phrases to them, focusing on one phrase at a time:May you live in safety.

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The Path to Loving-Kindness: Choose Your Phrases Loving-kindness is meant to be done in the easiest way possible so that the experience springs forth most gently, most naturally. To do it in the most easiest way possible means first to use phrases that are personally meaningful. The traditional phrases as are taught, at least this one classical translation of them, begins with oneself : May I be free from danger, may I know safety.

Danger in that sense is both inner danger from the force of certain mind states, and outer danger. So, May I be free from danger. May I have mental happiness.

May I have physical happiness. May I have ease of well-being—which means may I not have to struggle terribly, day by day, with livelihood, with family issues. Let your mind rest in the phrases. You can be aware of the phrases either with the breath or just in themselves—the focus of the attention is the phrases.

Let your mind rest within them. The feelings will come and go. May I be free from danger, may I have mental happiness, but really, you should use any phrases that are powerful for you. They need to be meaningful not just in a very temporary way—May I get to this course okay—but something profound that you would wish for yourself and wish for others. Thoughts are very important in doing loving-kindness—not to struggle to get a certain kind of feeling. Sometimes it will feel quite glorious, it will be extraordinary.

Loving-Kindness Takes Time The first time that I ever did loving-kindness practice was without a teacher. We first opened up the center; a group of us decided to do a self retreat here for a month and I had never done loving-kindness before although I had heard about it.

I thought it was a perfect opportunity to do it. I sat up in my room and I knew that it was done in successive stages and I began by dedicating a week of sending myself loving-kindness. All day long, I would go around the building—sitting in my room, sitting in the hall—saying the whole thing, may I be happy, may I be peaceful, may I be liberated, and I felt absolutely nothing.

At the end of the week, something happened to someone in the community and a number of us, quite unexpectedly, had to leave the retreat. Then I felt doubly bad—not only did nothing happen but I never even got beyond myself, which was really selfish.

I was running around upstairs in the flurry of having to leave. I was standing in one of the bathrooms and I dropped a jar of something, which shattered into a thousand pieces. Look at that. It was happening. It just took a while for me to sense the flowering of that and it was so spontaneous that it was quite wonderful.

So: Not to struggle, to try to make something happen. Let it happen. It will happen. Our job, so to speak, is just to say those phrases, to say them knowing what they mean but without trying to fabricate a feeling, without putting that overlay on top of it, of stress.

Let your mind rest in the phrases, and let the phrases be meaningful to you. See if you can understand that this person wants to be happy just as each one of us wants to be happy and open, extend that force of loving-kindness towards them.

Sending Loving-Kindness to the Difficult Party After we do that for a little while, move on, just briefly, to sending loving-kindness to somebody that we have difficulty with.

It is that person that defines the line between that which is finite and that which is infinite. Very often to think of this person and you enmity, or anger, or fear, whatever. And slowly begin to open in levels of difficulty. Sometimes when we send loving-kindness to a difficult person, we do feel all of these other feelings, like anger.

If possible, see if you can let go of it. Return the recitation of the phrases. Now when you can you can pick up the loving-kindness again, perhaps with an easier person. Guided Loving-Kindness Practice To begin, take a comfortable seated position.

Taking a few deep breaths, relaxing the body, finding the phrases that reflect what you wish most deeply for yourself. Very gently repeat them. If you have someone come to mind who has been a benefactor to help in some way, for whom you feel respect or gratitude, either hold an image of that person, or say their names in your mind. Direct that force of loving-kindness towards them, wishing them safety, happiness, and peace. Very gently, one phrase at a time, let the mind rest in the phrase.

Bring a neutral person to mind. Ideally it would be somebody here of course because you have an opportunity to run into them, to observe how a feeling of loving-kindness develops over the course of time. See if you can bring that person to mind. Extend the feeling of loving-kindness towards them— just as we all want to be happy, so this person also wants to be happy. If nobody comes to mind in this category, then you can just stay with a good friend. If it feels workable, bring to mind someone with whom you experience difficulty.

Remembering that his person, too, just wants to happy—that out of ignorance, we all make mistakes that create harm or suffering, and that causing suffering inevitably will bring suffering to that person.

See if you can extend that force of loving-kindness towards them. To send loving-kindness does not mean that we approve or condone all actions, it means that we can see clearly actions that are incorrect or unskillful and still not lose the connection. Expand your awareness to all beings, everywhere, without distinction, without exclusion. May all beings be free from danger, may they have mental happiness, may they have physical happiness, may they have ease of well-being. All living beings: may they be free from danger, may they have mental happiness, may they have physical happiness, may they have ease of well-being.

All individuals… happy, suffering, causing suffering. Still they have this wish to be happy, to be free. May it be so. And all those in existence. Every being, all places, may they be able to realize the fruits of just what it is that we wish for ourselves. Listen to the full talk.

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Thanks for watching! Visit Website To rejoice in our ability to make choices, to cultivate the good, to let go of that which harms us and causes suffering for us, will give us the confidence to keep experimenting, to do things that might be somewhat new for us, that feel like taking a risk — not toward recklessness, but toward compassion. No one of us can do these things perfectly; it is a constant journey, an ongoing practice. We practice generosity with others and with ourselves, over and over again, and the power of it begins to grow until it becomes almost like a waterfall, a flow. We practice kindness with others and ourselves, over and over again, and this is who we become, this is what feels most natural.


Sharon Salzberg: Connect with Kindness


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