Day 2 Evening Meditation: Connect with Loving-Kindness, with Sharon Salzberg

A simple loving-kindness practice to awaken to how connected we all are.

Connect with kindness. You don’t have to like everybody, or agree with everything they do—but you can open up to the possibility of caring for them, because our lives are inextricably linked. This classic loving-kindness meditation can help you to awaken to how connected we all are.

10-Minute Loving-Kindness Meditation

  • 10:19

1. Sit comfortably with your eyes open or closed.

2. And we’ll begin with someone who’s helped you. Maybe they’ve been directly generous or kind or have inspired you, though you’ve never met them. When you think of them, they make you smile. Bring an image of the person to mind or feel their presence as if they’re right in front of you. Say their name to yourself. And silently offer these phrases to them, focusing on one phrase at a time.

May you live in safety. May you have mental happiness, peace, joy. May you have physical happiness, health, freedom from pain. May you live with ease.

May you live in safety. May you have mental happiness. May you have physical happiness. May you live with ease.

Don’t struggle to fabricate a feeling or sentiment. If your mind wanders, simply begin again.

3. Now move on to a friend. Start with a friend who is doing well right now, offering the same phrases to them.

May you live in safety. May you have mental happiness. May you have physical happiness. May you live with ease.

4. And then someone who’s experiencing difficulty, loss, pain or unhappiness right now, offering the phrases of loving-kindness to them.

May you live in safety. May you have mental happiness. May you have physical happiness. May you live with ease.

5. Offer loving-kindness to a neutral person who you don’t feel a strong liking or disliking for. When you offer loving-kindness to a neutral person, you are offering it to them simply because they exist. You may not feel close to them or challenged by them.

May you live in safety. May have mental happiness. May you have physical happiness. May you live with ease.

6. Offer loving-kindness to a person with whom you have difficulty. Someone mildly difficult and slowly work toward someone who has hurt you more grievously. It’s common to feel resentment and anger, and it’s important not to judge yourself for that. Rather recognize that anger burns within your heart and causes suffering. So out of the greatest respect and compassion for yourself. Practice letting go and offering loving-kindness.

May you live in safety. May you have mental happiness. May you have physical happiness. May you live with ease.

7. And finish by offering loving-kindness to anyone who comes to mind. People, animals, those who you like, those whom you don’t. An adventurous expanse of your own power of kindness.

May you live in safety. May you have mental happiness. May you have physical happiness. May you live with ease.

When you feel ready, you can open your eyes, and we’ll end the session. See if you can bring some of this energy of loving-kindness into your day.

Research On the Power of Loving-Kindness:

Practicing loving-kindness may protect your genes and slow down the aging process, a new study finds. Chronic stress and aging take their toll on the mind and body, including our genes. A number of studies show that for some, meditation decreases stress, and slows down the rate at which cells age. Now, scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found that practicing loving-kindness may be the key. Cellular aging is often determined by telomere length. Telomeres, which are located at the end of chromosomes, are like the plastic tips of shoelaces that protect genes from deteriorating too rapidly over time. Age and chronic stress cause telomeres to wear down. Short telomeres have been linked to numerous illnesses including cancer and heart disease. Studies suggest that a combination of mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation may slow down the breakdown of telomerase that naturally occurs with stress and aging.

Read More About Loving-Kindness:

About the author

Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg is a meditation teacher and New York Times best-selling author. She is the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and has played a crucial role in bringing Asian meditation practices to the West. Sharon has been a student of meditation since 1971, guiding retreats worldwide since 1974. She is a weekly columnist for On Being, a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and the author of many books including Real Happiness, Lovingkindness, and Real Change.

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