Does meditation sound like drudgery to you? Think it’s too hard? Maybe too foreign?
I am here to help you banish your fear or trepidation. What if I told you it was simple, easy to learn, and may add years of healthy living to your life? Based on research, this is true. Dr. Richie Davidson, in my own state of WI, is a leading brain researcher in this area, and is a pal of the Dalai Lama. He knows his stuff, and he meditates every day.
Also, according to renowned positive psychology researcher, Barbara Fredrickson, loving-kindness meditation, a cousin of mindfulness meditation, opens your heart and evokes more positive emotions. It’s time for you to lift the lid of lovely Pandora’s Box. To treat yourself with positive psychology coaching gifts that keep on giving: Appreciation, Amusement, Awe, Hope, Joy, Inspiration, Interest, Pride, Serenity, and the kingpin that combines them all, LOVE. In alphabetical order to make them easier to memorize, if the spirit moves you.
Enter loving-kindness meditation (LKM).
In her book, “Positivity”, Fredrickson defines LKM “a technique used to increase feelings of warmth and caring for the self and others. Like mindfulness, loving-kindness evolved from the ancient mind-training practices. Each practice involves quiet contemplation.”
How do you do it? Here’s a brief primer:
In a seated posture, close your eyes and be aware of your breathing.
Focus on your slow steady breath without judgement. Of course your mind will wander, that’s normal. In LKM, you aim to train your emotions towards warm, tender, compassionate feelings in an open-hearted way. You direct these warm and tender feelings toward YOURSELF, and then to an ever-broadening circle of others. Yes, you read me right. You focus on yourself first.
In coaching we say, “You are creative, resourceful and whole”. You are way more than enough. Get your own act together and you can pay your positive energy forward to others. Sweet!
But specifically, how does LKM help? True, it is not the “magic bullet” according to Fredrickson, but it does open your heart and mind to ways that will expand your positivity and help you reap life’s rewards. Who wouldn’t want more positive emotions trumping your negative ones for 2014? Heck for the rest of your life! Time to broaden and build your positivity. The benefits of LKM also rev up your resilience and power-up your positive emotions. What you focus on grows.
Here are 7 benefits of LKM to float your increased well-being boat:
- Improved ability to savor and be mindful of how you are showing up in life.
- Increased capacity to accept yourself, warts and all.
- More paths opened to find clarity and meaning in life.
- Heightened awareness how to trust yourself and others.
- Added health benefits. This is major! Fewer aches, pains, colds and flu.
- Augmented ability to move from ground zero in everyday emotions to feeling more positive emotions and moving to a higher ground.
- Less depression and more overall life satisfaction. Peace!
Wow! What a science-based array of bennies, all for spending few minutes a day (or longer if you wish to dig deeper) of LKM.
You can try out LKM by listening to no-cost tapes at Fredrickson’s website at www.positivityresonance.com. Sharon Salzberg, a mentor of Fredrickson, also has some dandy LKM mediations, www.sharonsalzberg.com. I also enjoy Buddhanet at www.buffhanet.net/dept.ntm.
I wish you self-love and acceptance for 2014. and forever, for that matter.
I send you light and love when you repeat this mantra to yourself as you begin to meditate:
May I be well and happy.
May I be free from suffering, disease, grief, worry and anger.
May I be strong, self-confident, healthy, and peaceful.
May I give what I have gained to others.
Yes, to become a lovely new health habit, LKM takes practice. You are worth it. You might also want to take some formal training and watch your positive emotions soar.
If you wonder about how long it will take, remember what Zig Ziglar said,
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Many years ago in my ignorance, I asked a Buddhist monk at a several-day meditation workshop in Santa Fe, “How long did it take you to get where you wanted to go?” He laughed spontaneously as did all the other monks. His reply, “I have been meditating for 27 years, and I am still not sure where “there” is! It was a foolish question, I realize now. There is no “getting there.” Meditation is in the NOW. Savor that journey every time you take it and accept whatever emerges. Lovely!
Peace, calm, and love I wish for you in 2014. And hopes you pay it forward along with me.
And if you want to give yourself or your friends and family a New Year’s treat, grab a copy of my book, humbly on the Amazon bestseller list for almost two years running.