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A loving-kindness meditation
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A loving-kindness meditation
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A loving-kindness meditation
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Articles
11 September 2018

A loving-kindness meditation

Sharon Salzberg guides us through a meaningful meditation session that invites balance, happiness and peace.

Written by Sharon Salzberg

Behind extraordinary ideas, there are extraordinary people. Dumbo Feather is a magazine about these people.

Photo by sean Kong on Unsplash

In this meditation exercise we move at a normal pace, eyes open, yet have a centre point on the silent repetition of certain phrases. There are many forms and methods for doing this. The one I like the best is to centre my attention on phrases for myself as I walk along, like: “May I be happy. May I be peaceful.”

Even as I’m aware of everything going on around me, it forms a basis for connection, for being in the moment. And then as someone comes strongly into my consciousness—I hear a bird, I hear a dog, I see a person, I have a big memory of somebody—I take a moment to include them: “May you be happy. May you be peaceful,” and then return to the repetition of phrases for myself.

It’s a very interesting and creative exercise because we don’t know who is going to come by. Maybe we’re afraid of dogs, but there is the sound of a dog. “May you be happy. May you be peaceful.”

Returning to the phrases for oneself helps us to not get scattered—jumping from being to being to being. It means we can have a steady object of concentration while also recognising those that come strongly into our awareness. “May I be happy. May I be peaceful. May you be happy. May you be peaceful.”

We may judge someone — we like this about them, we don’t like that about them, whatever it might be — but underneath that we can include them in our field of loving-kindness: “May you be happy. May you be peaceful.”

Maybe we feel envious of somebody, maybe we feel a little afraid of them. Underneath that, as we’re walking, we’re still gesturing to them in this way: “May you be happy. May you be peaceful.”

You will suddenly see the world explode with life: little creatures, insects, animals, people, yourself. And then, when you feel ready, you can bring the exercise to a close.

See if you can bring this meditation into one walk or conversation you have today. And notice that even underneath listening, planning, thinking and speaking, you can return to the silent repetition of these phrases for yourself, and for those you’re engaging with. “May you be happy. May you be peaceful.”

A loving-kindness walking meditation from 14 Guided Meditations for Love & Wisdom, available at Sounds True.

This story originally ran in issue #50 of Dumbo Feather

This story originally ran in issue #50 of Dumbo Feather

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