Daily Shifts: Be Kind to Yourself and Others
Remember a moment when you were experiencing great difficulty and someone extended a gesture of kindness? Didn't it shift your whole world? It's like the lights come on, colors become vibrant, your heart comes to life and all is well in the world again. Imagine if you took this practice to heart and did it on a daily basis when you're going through a BIG Shift?
“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” Dalai Lama
The Buddhists have mastered the practice of loving kindness and compassion. Buddhist teachings always emphasize that, unless you practice and integrate these qualities into your everyday world, you won't attain enlightenment and liberation.
Scientific studies have concluded that there are physiological benefits to practicing compassion too — people who practice it produce 100 percent more DHEA, which is a hormone that counteracts the aging process, and 23 percent less cortisol — the stress hormone. Loving kindness and compassion are good for you, in so many ways.
Loving Kindness Meditation
Here's a loving kindness meditation that you can add to your daily practice. This meditation is simple and can be done in 5 minutes.
Sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Allow your focus to originate from the sensations in your heart as you share your loving kindness with yourself and others. Imagine what you wish for your life. Maybe something like:
May I be healthy and strong. May I be happy. May I be filled with ease.
- Start with by directing the phrases at yourself: May I be happy.
- Next, direct your attention towards someone you feel thankful for or someone who has helped you.
- Now visualize someone you feel neutral about—people you neither like nor dislike.
- Next visualize the people you don't like or who you are having a hard time with.
- Finally, direct your attention towards everyone universally: “May all beings everywhere be happy.”
Practicing loving kindness and compassion will not only change your world, but will ripple change into the world around you.
If you prefer a guided experience, try out Buddhist Teacher Sharon Salzburg's meditation below.