Loving-kindness Meditation

flower_smallLoving-kindness meditation is the art of awakening the heart through intentions of goodwill and compassion, practiced for thousands of years by various Buddhist traditions. Today, modern science is now verifying it’s amazing ability for radical, positive transformation and healing. It will lead us to a deeper understanding of the causes of suffering and the causes of peace and contentment in our life. Leading us naturally to take up care and drop violence in our thoughts, speech, and actions.

So, what does all this have to do with porn addiction? The violence I speak of we commit against our self, primarily in the form of denigrating thoughts such as guilt, shame, self loathing, and, of course, physically acting out our addiction. If we are honest with our self, we will see these actions as acts of self-violence. Loving-kindness meditate helps turn a more loving and compassionate light on to our self and others, which naturally and gently changes us from the inside out. Naturally engaging in thoughts, speech, and actions that are healthy and wise, and turning away from those that are unhealthy and unwise.

A small list of benefits accrued to this meditation: Reduce social anxiety, anger, stress, and addictive behaviors. Increased feelings of compassion, forgiveness, love, intimacy, and acceptance for our self and others. Better social interactions. Better quality of sleep and reduced unpleasant dreams. Better Digestion. Smiling and laughing more. You are kinder to others and have increased understanding and sensitivity to others suffering.

The goal of this meditation is to awaken our natural loving and compassionate emotions, first directing it to ourselves and then to others. This kind of work can be very difficult at times, and may feel fake at first, but with consistent practice you will improve your concentration and genuine intentions. Be patient and be kind with yourself, do not strain or force anything at the beginning, this may cause stress and be counter productive. Just remember if you don’t feel anything at first, that is OK.

How to meditate

1. Seating
Set aside about 20-30 minutes of time. Get in a comfortable seated position on a floor cushion or in a chair, back straight. Relax and take a few deep breaths, allow any tension in the body to melt away.

2. Mindfulness Meditation (5-10 minutes)
Before starting the Loving-kindness Meditation, I recommend you practice 5 to 10 minutes of Mindfulness Meditation to settle the mind and increase focus.

3. Loving-kindness to yourself (10 minutes)
Begin with a gentle acceptance of yourself, then silently repeat some or all of these phrases to your self. Continue to repeat the phrases until a feeling starts to gently bubble to the surface in an unforced way. When you find you are at a place of peace or love, you can stay there and enjoy the feeling. If you find you have lost concentration or lost the feeling, go back to the aphorisms. More solutions are at the bottom of this article for arousing feelings of loving-kindness. Practice in this way for about 10 minutes.

I wish that I be happy, may I be happy.

I wish that I be free from suffering, may I be free from suffer.

May I learn to identify and see the sources of suffering in myself.

May I be able to recognize and touch peace and happiness in myself.

May I be free from anger, afflictions, fear, and anxiety.

May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love.

4. Loving-kindness to others (10 minutes)
At the end of our meditation, we imagine radiating this feeling of well-wishing out to others, in progressively larger circles. Everyone close by, everyone on this street, with-in 100mi, 1000mi, this continent, this side of the planet, and then out into infinite space. Repeat the same phrases but direct them to others.

I wish that they be happy, may they be happy.

I wish that they be free from suffering, may they be free from suffer.

May they learn to identify and see the sources of suffering in their self.

May they be able to recognize and touch peace and happiness in their self.

May they be free from anger, afflictions, fear, and anxiety.

May they learn to look at their self with the eyes of understanding and love.

5. Ending
Relax your concentration, let the feeling gently subside, and bring your consciousness back to the room you are in. Take a few deep breaths and when you wish get up slowly.

Solutions to difficulties in the practice

If you are having difficulty arousing or keeping a feeling of love for yourself, you can try one of the following methods. You can use any of these anytime in the meditation.

  • Recall some of your good qualities. e.g. I am a hard worker, I love my wife and children, I am good with numbers, I am an honest person, etc.
  • Recall something you have done for yourself or others recently. Help given, gifts offered, or just a kind word to someone in need.
  • You can use a visual aid such as the image of yourself smiling, or yourself as a child smiling. Perhaps smiling more and more as you recite the aphorisms.
  • Remind yourself, there is no guilt or shame in wanting to be happy and to not suffer. Everyone in life simply wants to be happy and avoid suffering, including yourself.

Meditation Timer
I recommend the Zazen Meditation Timer for Android to time your meditation. It’s a fairly simple app. You can make a meditation for 20 minutes comprised of two 10 minute sections with bells at beginning and ends.

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