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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Mindfulness, Compassion, Nonviolence - Series 16

 Loving-Kindness Meditation (metta meditation, compassion meditation)

All of us know what compassion is. All traditions teach us that we should practice compassion. Some of us are, by nature, compassionate. Some of us have to learn to be compassionate. How do we learn? What are some of the basics we should learn, or be aware of, before learning Loving-kindness or Metta or Compassion meditation? (I plan to use the words loving-kindness, compassion, and metta meditation interchangeably) Buddhist meditation methods give us several tools.

I learnt loving-kindness meditation during one of the week-long retreats I attended with Rev. Thich Naht Hahn. It was an eye-opener. I realized very soon that one has prepare oneself to practice loving-kindness meditation. That preparation includes learning about and practicing Forgiveness,  Gratitude, Connecting to the five universal elements and Self-compassion.

To be compassionate to someone else, we must first be compassionate to ourselves. To be compassionate to oneself and not be too self-critical, one must look deeply and reflect on one’s own feelings, thoughts, and behavior. One must be able to accept the weaknesses and forgive oneself. This must be followed by efforts to remedy them to the extent possible. One should replace those “bad seeds” with many “good seeds” available within oneself. This is positive psychology.

It will be easier to practice compassion towards others if we understand how all of us are inter-connected and inter-dependent. Five element meditation will help recognize the fact that each one of us – indeed every life form – is made of the same basic elements, namely earth, water, fire, air and space. We are all made up of the same elements from star dust and energized by the same source. The source from which all of us came is a part of everyone. Therefore, part of you is in me and part of me is in you. If we can see this fact deeply and intuitively and feel it “in our bones”, there is no way we will do anything that is harmful to others. We cannot but feel the pain of others when they suffer.

One other step before practicing loving-kindness meditation is the ability to forgive others. Without forgiving others for their “perceived” weakness and real ones, we cannot truly be compassionate and send a message of good will and say with sincerity: “may you be well; may you be safe; may you be free from suffering”.

There are several sources to learn each one of these steps. The following is a list of a few.

Forgiveness meditation  by Jack Kornfeld (First 12 minutes for Forgiveness)

Self-ForgivenessMeditation, by Jack Kornfield - YouTube

Magical mantra (on gratitude and Thank you)   A magicalmantra for nurturing a blissful life | JayaShri Maathaa - YouTube

 Gratitude| Louie Schwartzberg | TEDxSF - Bing video

 FiveElements Meditation 360 Video - YouTube

Positive Psychology Exercises: Self Compassion Letter & Your Daily Holiday - Bing video

CompassionMeditation | Practice | Greater Good in Action (berkeley.edu)

TaraBrach Leads a Guided Meditation: The RAIN of Self Compassion - Bing video

Meditationon the Elements that Comprise the Body - Wake Up International (wkup.org)

https://www.mindful.org/category/meditation/   

This  last  site has guided meditations for Breath awareness, Body relaxation and Compassion also. This is the final essay on Mindfulness, Compassion and Nonviolence. Hope they were helpful.


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