When I set out to practice loving kindness meditation this week, I have to admit I thought it might take me in the opposite direction of mindfulness. Why? Well, because I thought the mantras I was repeating to myself (may I/you be: healthy in body and mind, safe and happy, peaceful and at ease) might cause me to worry about whether I or the other people I was thinking about were indeed healthy, safe, happy, peaceful and at ease. Yet, this didn't happen.
In fact it was a surprisingly powerful exercise in mindfulness. Instead of bringing any potential lack to my awareness, these mantras, along with the feelings that accompanied them, gave me a strong sense of how I was in that moment. This meditation gave me the space and freedom to feel into what was there.
And as for those 'other people' who became the focus of this meditation throughout the week, well, this was perhaps the most powerful thing of all. I tend to want to be a 'fixer'. It upsets me when people I love are upset, stressed, angry. I want to help them, take away whatever is bothering them. In short, I want to fix it. At the same time, I'm intensely aware of the fact that I can't and shouldn't be responsible for anyone else's health, happiness or peace. All I can do is be supportive, kind and caring. And that's what Loving Kindness meditation felt like to me this week. As I held various people in my mind, sending out my wishes for them to be healthy, happy and peaceful, I found a way to offer them something in an un-intrusive yet incredibly beneficial way.
May everyone, everywhere, be healthy in body and mind, safe and happy, peaceful and at ease.