Monday, November 9, 2020

Collecting Tools For Your Spiritual Toolbox -- Lovingkindness

 Let's start with the directions for the meditation this time.  This is a great way to systematically pray for yourself and others.  It is a peaceful way of falling asleep at night and has the right amount of balance for keeping your "monkey mind" busy and yet, the repetition which lulls us into a calm space. 

Take a few deeper and slower breaths to signal your mind, body, and heart to slow down.

Part I: Yourself

Start by thinking about yourself and then say to yourself or out loud:*

  1. May I be safe and protected.
  2. May I be peaceful and happy.
  3. May I be healthy and resilient..
  4. May lovingkindness fill me and embrace me fully.  (Wrap your arms around you.)

Repeat for as long as you desire -- actually "reach" to feel the feelings mentioned.  When you feel filled, move to the next part.

Part II:  Loved Ones

Think about your loved ones nearest you.  You can think of them as a group or each one as an individual and then say to yourself or out loud:

  1. May he/she/they be safe and protected.
  2. May he/she/they be peaceful and happy.
  3. May he/she/they be healthy and resilient.
  4. May he/she/they be filled and embraced fully with lovingkindness.

Part III: Groups/Communities You Are Part Of

  1. May (the group's name) be safe and protected.
  2. May (the group's name) be peaceful and happy.
  3. May (the group's name) be healthy and resilient.
  4. May (the group's name) be filled and embraced fully by lovingkindness.

Part IV: Enemies/Those With Whom You Have Conflict

  1. May they be safe and protected. 
  2. May they be peaceful and happy.
  3. May they be healthy and resilient.
  4. May they be filled and embraced fully by lovingkindness.  

"The Lord appeared to him from afar saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.'"  --Jeremiah 31:3 NASB

Lovingkindness is somewhat of an older English word that lost favor but has started being reclaimed in modern spiritual practices.  Jewish/Christian scriptures often translate it as mercy, everlasting love, unfailing love, perfect devotion.  Other traditions define it as unconditional positive regard, loving acceptance, or deep belonging.   

Regardless of the words used, it is a rich and meaningful word that captures an important characterization we associate with God, and more extensively with the sentiment of the Divine holding all creation enmeshed in revitalizing wholeness. Lovingkindness captures the character of the Spirit that holds us tightly in tough times and as the verse in Jeremiah states, lovingkindness draws us forward.   

The movement in the above meditation starts us within ourselves.  The only change any of us can reliably make in life is within our own being. So, all change has to begin with one's own internal orientation and work.  From there the spirit connection resonates outward.  When we have filled ourselves with lovingkindness, that spirit force moves in concentric circles outward like a pebble dropped in a pond.  That force then moves others, causing the aware to take notice and calling them to also contribute to the size of the wave.

Lovingkindness is a powerful tool for your spiritual toolbox as it has the ability to change your orientation toward life and the course of life for all those in your life and beyond.  Practice it often.  

* - One way to help you remember the sequencing of the blessing steps is to note that the first letter of the second word is the first letter of the first word in the next blessing: protected --> peaceful, happy --> healthy.

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