Loving-Kindness Meditation – Part 2 of 4

Three Mindfulness Practices That Help Troubled Teens – Part 1 of 4
June 6, 2018
Square Breathing – Part 3 of 4
June 25, 2018
Mindfulness Series - Part 2 of 4

Loving-Kindness Meditation

By Gordon Harris, Adapted by Trenna Ahlstrom

One of the primary goals of RedCliff Ascent is to help teens build healthy relationships with family, friends and themselves. Loving-Kindness Meditation is a small part of a bigger process. It was the first mindfulness practice RedCliff Ascent chose to use. Assistant Field Director Gordon Harris brought the practice of Loving-Kindness Meditation to RedCliff Ascent. The Loving-Kindness Meditation was chosen because it is simple to learn, easy to facilitate, and produces a near-immediate positive response from students. It is recognized as a useful tool to help teens reach a mental state where they are ready to heal and improve their relationships.

Purpose

Loving-Kindness Meditation is a guided imagery, mindful practice that helps to develop feelings of connection, kindness, and compassion towards others. Compassion, kindness, and empathy are foundational emotions for all living beings. Regular practice of Loving-Kindness meditation can help develop cognitive and relational benefits including an increased sense of well-being, relief from illness and discomfort, and improved emotional intelligence.

Requirements

  • Time: 12-15 minutes
  • Positioning: Sitting comfortably in a position where you can hear the instruction clearly.

Process

Loving-Kindness is a guided imagery meditation. There are five people, or groups of people, that are used as the focus of the loving-kindness attitude. These are the (1) self, (2) the positive person, (3) the neutral person, (4) the difficult person and (5) the “world”. The world represents everyone that we know or have known. There are four energies that are sent to the universe on behalf of each of these sets of people. They are (1) happiness, (2) health, (3) safety, (4) ease and comfort.

When they are led through guided meditation practice, students at RedCliff Ascent hear a script similar to the one that is used below.

Meditation Script

Take a moment to get physically comfortable, to take a few deep, centering breaths and then…

…Imagine yourself in a beautiful meadow. It is a large, open space. Surrounded by majestic trees. Maybe it is a warm and sunny day and this feels good on your skin. Perhaps there are wildflowers blooming in your meadow, perhaps there are birds singing in the distance. This is your creation, you create it. You decide.

The Self

Recall a time in which you felt particularly good about yourself. Maybe this was a time in when you were very kind, accomplished some great task for yourself or for others, or maybe you were very generous. Notice how that feels. Are you smiling or do you feel expansive? Sit with this wonderful feeling for a moment. This feeling is natural and accessible to you any time you choose.

Send these four intentions to the universe on your behalf: (1) may I be happy, (2) may I be healthy, (3) may I live in safety, (4) may I live with ease and comfort.

The Positive Person

Next, invite the positive person into this space. This is someone you have particularly strong positive emotions for. This could be your mom or dad, your sister or your brother, or a close friend or relative. See them there, at the edge of the meadow. Look at the set of their shoulders and the color of their hair. Invite them to come and to sit with you here in this beautiful meadow of your creation.

And we send these four intentions to the universe on their behalf: (1) may they be happy, (2) may they be healthy, (3) may they live in safety, (4) may they live in ease and comfort.

The Neutral Person

Next, invite the neutral person into this beautiful meadow of your creation. This is a person for whom we have no particular positive or negative emotions for. This might be a classmate or a neighbor. See them there on the edge of the meadow and invite them to come and sit with you. Watch them as they walk over and notice the shape of their nose and the color of their skin.

Send these four intentions to the universe on their behalf: (1) may they be happy, (2) may they be healthy, (3) may they live in safety, (4) may they live with ease and comfort.

The Difficult Person

Next, invite the difficult person. Maybe this is not the most difficult person in our lives, but it is someone who is difficult to get along with. They emerge from the tree line, there on the edge of our beautiful meadow. Notice the radiance of their smile and the color of their eyes. We invite them to sit with us, here in this beautiful meadow of your creation.

Send these four intentions to the universe on their behalf: (1) may they be happy, (2) may they be healthy, (3) may they live in safety, (4) may they live with ease and comfort.

The World

Now, invite your world into this space with you. Invite every single person you know. All of your relatives. All your neighbors. Your classmates. Invite them all to sit with us here in this place of our creation. As they sit here with you, you might pick out some familiar faces.

This is good, for it brings you joy to see them again. Send to the universe on their behalf, these four intentions: (1) may they all be happy, (2) may they all be healthy, (3) may they all live in safety, (4) may they all live with ease and comfort.

Focus once again on your breath. Inhale deeply. Pause. Exhale. Breath deeply from your belly. Follow your breath for a while as you sit with these feelings of compassion and connection. Bring these emotions with you as you slowly guide yourself back into this space. When you are ready, open your eyes and join us here and now.

Next Week

Next week, the series on Mindfulness practices will continue with a feature on Square Breathing. This breathing technique is used both by the US Navy Seals and mindfulness practitioners alike. Practicing this breathing technique can help improve our response to states of fear and anxiety.

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