Last September I had an incredible opportunity to retreat at Gampo Abbey Monastery located at the northern point of beautiful Nova Scotia. This is the home monastery of Pema Chodron, a teacher that is near and dear to my heart and my spiritual journey. It was on this retreat that I fully understood the potency for meditation to help us learn to relax AND appreciate the reality of who we are and what we're experiencing moment to moment. Instead of fighting what I experience on the cushion, I can be gentle with it. I can send love to myself and allow things to flow instead of getting hooked by discomfort and criticism! Exercising our unconditional, expansive qualities of heart are instrumental in this process. Through deliberate loving-kindness or metta practice, we can uncover these tender qualities and begin to automatically bring them into everyday reality; with everyone that we meet. Good news: you only need about 5 minutes a day (or as often as you can) to start your practice! The following 5 steps will help you to create a practice. Alternatively, scroll down to use my audio recording.
1) Settle into a comfortable space in your home. Lie down, sit on a chair or cushion, wherever you feel most at ease in the body. Feel supported, close the eye or divert the gaze. 2) Bring soft awareness to the flow of your breath at the belly, chest and nostrils. Settle into the observance of breath wherever the sensations of its flow are most dominant. However you experience the breath is ok. 3) Focusing on your heart, think of someone (even a beloved pet) that you love very much. Let that love permeate your heart. Allow yourself to feel that love that they have for you. Stay with whatever feelings come up. 4) Recite the following phrases either aloud or in the mind. Regardless if you believe them fully in the moment, trust the potency of their vibration and meaning.
May I be safe.
May I be healthy.
May I be at ease.
May I be filled with loving-kindness.
5) Allow yourself to bask in these phrases, the gentleness of breath and settling of body. When you are ready to release the meditation, deepen your breath and introduce small movement to your fingers. Release the chin slightly and allow the eyes to open. Dedicate it back out by sharing the love.
Audio recording HERE, scroll down to Loving-Kindness and push play.
May you be full of joy!