Loving-Kindness to All

Wow! Is it Wednesday already?

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Today's well-being offering is bouncing off a little practice I've begun doing since my 'retreat' last week. It has to do with the idea that by offering loving-kindness to others, we add to our own health and happiness as well, and cultivate a natural sense of compassion.

The Maitri (loving-kindness) meditation is one in which you bring to mind certain people in your life and offer them wishes of well-being. Specifically, you begin with yourself (as this should be the easiest one to send loving-kindness to, but often, isn't this really the hardest?), and then someone you can already easily invoke feelings of love for. Next, envision a good friend, and then, someone you have neutral feelings for.. a stranger, perhaps a delivery person, etc. And then, call to mind someone that you typically have difficulty finding good feelings about.. an estranged family member or friend, a political figure, someone who may have hurt you deeply. As you call each of these people to mind, in this order, from easiest to most difficult, internally verbalize this blessing:

May you be happy. May you be healthy, May you have peace. May you live a life of ease.

 If you are finding it hard to extend this blessing to certain people, let them go for this practice, until you are able to come back to them with a softer heart. While this practice will reach the objects of your focus on some level, it's most important that you are able to feel the authenticity of your desire for the well-being of others, which will enrich your own life and wholeness.

This practice does not need to be done as or limited to just a meditation. You can extend a wish of health, happiness and peace to anyone at any time throughout your day. I guarantee it can change your mood, lift your spirits, turn a bad day around, and possibly do the same for someone else. What a gift!