Want to cultivate positive feelings and nourish your soul in just a short time without much energy? Try a little “Loving-Kindness”.
The above quote is part of what’s called a “Metta” or Loving-Kindness Meditation. It’s called “Loving-Kindness” because the key of this practice is to first focus it on yourself.
Metta is a very nourishing daily practice, and one that can take as little as a handful of seconds. Whenever I am in “sticky” spot, stressed out (or ramping up to become stressed out!), I find that Metta almost always calms me down. It’s not a magic cure for anxiety or unhappiness, but it definitely helps me cool down and relax.
Metta is probably one of the easiest and most rewarding forms of meditation out there. There’s no mind-clearing, no “check-in” with the body with Metta. It can be done anyplace, anytime, in any body position. No yoga mat or meditation class required.
Simply close your eyes and say to yourself:
“May I Be Happy.
May I Be Well.
May I Be Safe.
May I Be Peaceful and At Ease.”
As you say each phrase, try and really *feel into* what you are saying. If any positive feelings arise, notice them and allow them to sort of wash over you. Sometimes, negative emotions rise up to the surface, and that’s normal, too. Just keep going, and relax into whatever comes up. Repeat the phrases as often as you’d like.
That’s all there is to it. But if you’d like to go further with the Metta practice, you can include others in your Metta meditation. When I practice Metta as a daily meditation, I first say the phrases to myself, and then I switch to the following version:
“May You Be Happy.
May You Be Healthy.
May You Be Safe.
May You Be Peaceful and At Ease” .
As I repeat the phrases over and over, I find that images of loved ones, friends, family, pets, and acquaintances pop into my mind. I send them out my best wishes and shining love as I repeat the phrases over and over on their behalf.
I know this might sound crazy, but on days when I really take some time to focus on my Metta practice (on both my own behalf and on the behalf of others), I find I generally have a better experience in life. I know that’s neuroscience at work (“neurons that fire together, wire together!”, meaning the more positive feelings you experience and recognize, the more you will continue to have) but it does feel a bit magical, sometimes.
If you’d like to give Metta a try, or just need a reminder to practice a little Loving-Kindness on yourself, I created a high-resolution 4×6″ printable poster of this quote for you to download and print out. Simply right-click here and choose “Download Linked File”, or click here and choose “Save As” from under the “File” menu on your browser.
Chel Micheline is a mixed-media artist, curator, writer, and avid gardener/reader/swimmer who lives in Southwest Florida with her husband and daughter. When Chel’s not making art or pondering the Bliss Habits, she’s blogging at gingerblue.com (come say hi!) or posting new things in the gingerblue etsy shop.