By Linda Souders, Journey Meditation Teacher
The simple practice of Loving-Kindness has come to be one of the easiest and most powerful ways to bring happiness to others, thereby multiplying my own. The brief act of sending out well wishes to all by silently communicating a sentiment such as, “May I be happy and free. May he/she be happy and free. May all beings be happy and free” is a practice I can do anytime, anywhere.
First beginning with myself, to know and embody happiness and freedom, I can then share that with others. So, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, a simple, “May I be happy and free” is a quick act of self-care which immediately shifts me into a calmer state, feeling more supported.
Then I send out the same to all others. Sometimes just walking down the street and seeing someone who appears to be distraught activates a quick Loving-Kindness response, “May he be happy and free.” It’s a way to support him. Or when my child goes away to sleepover camp, I find myself wishing, “May she be happy and free.” I immediately feel more ease and joy. Hearing the news of the day, I can silently wish all those in the world at large, “May they be happy and free.” It’s a way I can contribute positively to any situation.
Not surprisingly, studies have shown compassion – concern for the suffering of others – is a key ingredient to our positive health and well-being. Loving-Kindness meditation was found to decrease the anxiety and depression associated with self-focus by getting us out of our heads. Shifting our point of view to include others, and then opening our mind and heart by practicing Loving-Kindness is a simple, easy way to create connection, improve the way we relate to others, and ultimately increase our own positive feelings.
The bottom line? Practicing Loving-Kindness by focusing on and connecting more to others increases positive feelings in me. This practice has an immediate and positive effect. As I wish others happiness, my own happiness and joy are multiplied.