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Loving Kindness

We are all doing things slightly differently lately. Trying new things that we never really had the time, or inclination, to do before. Attending webinars, cooking sourdough loaves (fills a day I hear) and participating in chain email requests – maybe that’s just me? 

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One of these emails, the ‘inspirational exchange’ asked for a favourite text, verse or meditation. Perhaps because the question elicited an immediate response from me, I happily joined the email collective and passed it on to others, then the Detail crew, and now to you.

My favourite meditation is the ‘Loving Kindness’. There are quite a few variations on this, although my preferred is very simple, and I think relevant to the time we find ourselves in.

I first learnt it quite a few years back in India – I was in Goa on a yoga retreat, and at the time, it had quite a profound effect and has always stayed with me. I find it deeply calming and nurturing.

It is worth noting that it is absolutely not necessary to sit in lotus, chant or howl to the moon. The only requirements are to be comfortable and quiet.

So how do you practice? It is very simple, find a comfortable and quiet place – and sit, focus on your breathing. Take your time and release yourself from any pressure to hurry as you only need to give yourself 10-15 minutes to feel better.

Close your eyes. Breathe deeply and slowly.

The first-round chant is your gift to yourself. You can either do this silently or give it voice, whatever you feel more comfortable with. Maybe try both ways and see what feels better. I enjoy an internal practice.

Think only of filling yourself with love and gentle kindness. Inhale with the first line, exhale with the second, inhale with the third and exhale the fourth. Breathe deeply. Do this with heartfelt intent – mean it.

May I be filled with loving kindness
May I be well 
May I be peaceful and at ease
May I be happy.

The second chant is for another – you may know them, well or not at all, but send it specifically to someone in need of a little loving kindness.

May you be filled with loving kindness
May you be well 
May you be peaceful and at ease
May you be happy.

The third chant is for us all, the world, the universe, and everything.

May we be filled with loving kindness
May we be well 
May we be peaceful and at ease
May we be happy.

Repeat as many times as you can, although I suggest at least three times.

Take the time and have the intent – don’t rush, enjoy it, be generous with it and be kind to others, and of course, to yourself. 

You can download a printable version of the mediation HERE.

I hope you enjoy this; I love it.

IMAGES 
A collection of images from home – from the top and then left to right.

Image 1. A monstrance from Goa, it is a symbol of the religious harmony – a combination of the religious elements they like. Goa is famous for its religious harmony, a place where major religions of India harmoniously blend. In the Roman Catholic Church, a monstrance is a transparent receptacle for the consecrated Host to be displayed for veneration. However, in Goa, they practice their version. They have combined the Catholic monstrance, with the Hindu lotus as a symbol of eternity, plenty and good fortune and the Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. Instead of a place for a ‘host,’ they may use the monstrance for a deity.

Image 2. Antique alabaster Buddha from Burma

Image 3. A vintage Tibetan Gau, which is a prayer box traditionally used by Tibetan Buddhists as a reliquary to hold and carry sacred objects, such as an image of the owners’ personal deity wrapped in silk cloth, along with other holy objects or blessed items. Gaus are traditionally kept in custom-made silk pouches and carried by the nomadic Tibetans during their travels as a source of protection and blessings.

Image 4. Backyard orange jessamine trees, which I have painted in Bauwerk whitewash.

Image 5. My goldfish.

Image 6. A pair of antique apsaras from the Jain religion. They are water nymphs and performing artists to the gods. They are somewhat semi-divine, adept in magic and knowledgeable in all of the performing arts. They are also known to sing and dance on happy occasions such as births and weddings of the gods as well as humans. 

Image 7. Buddha statue from Thailand

Image 8. Backyard bamboo

 

Word: Claire McGowan

Imagery: Claire & Kai