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Napa Valley Insight Meditation Message Board › Loving-Kindness Meditation: Reading for Oct. 8th NVMG meeting

Loving-Kindness Meditation: Reading for Oct. 8th NVMG meeting

Forrest H.
user 33431512
Group Organizer
Napa, CA
Dear Sangha,

This week (Tuesday Oct 8th) we will begin reading the 2nd Chapter of Sharon Salzberg's book "Loving-Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness." If you need a copy of the chapter, you can print one out by clicking on the link below:


In this chapter, Sharon introduces us to the Buddhist meditation practice of loving-kindness. This practice involves gently repeating phrases that are an expression of what we wish to cultivate in ourselves, and in our relationships with others. We start with ourselves first, because as most religious traditions teach, it is hard to love and care for others if we don't love and care for ourselves. As westerners, this is often our most difficult task. Many of us have been psychologically conditioned to believe we don't deserve love unless we obtain certain goals, meet certain expectations, have respect, power or money, are charitable enough to others, and/or never make mistakes. These notions are often the cause of our suffering, and our feelings of separation and fragmentation.

The phrases we repeat during the loving-kind meditation are expressions of our intention to cultivate new thought patterns that support our desire for greater happiness and self-acceptance. There are traditional phrases you can use, but as you practice you may find it helpful to modify these phrases to fit your needs. Sharon offers four phrases in the exercise at the the end of Chapter 2, which you might want to try using during your practice this week. Here, I offer four more phrases that I like to use, as an alternative example.

May I be filled with loving-kindness
May I be healthy and strong
May be safe and protected
My I take care of myself happily.

As you repeat these phases during meditation, the idea is to just be present with them and see what comes up. You don't need to feel one way or another. I like to say the phases slowly in rhythm with my breath - you may find a different rhythm that works for you. As you repeat the phrases simply allow them to be.

Think of this process as watering the many good seeds of happiness and joy in you. We all have the seed of compassion, of understanding, of unconditional love, and we practice the loving-kindness meditation in order to bring appropriate attention to this fact, to stopping our thinking, to simply enjoy the pleasant feeling that is possible in the here and the now. Simply doing the practice allows the healing to take place - strengthening the neural pathways that allow our true selves to emerge from the shadows. You don’t have to make any effort because you have the habit of happiness already in you. All of us have the capacity to be happy, it is the gift of our lives, it is our Buddha nature.

With metta-
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