LovingKindness Meditation - Lisa Abramson
Lisa Abramson is an executive coach, keynote speaker, best selling author and mindfulness teacher. Before becoming a coach, she worked as a marketing exec at a tech startup in the Bay Area. Lisa helped more than 15,000 people increase their mental resiliency though my online programs and have shared my insights at TEDx, Google, Microsoft, Cisco, The Stanford Graduate School of Business and in Forbes, NPR, The New York Times, Fast Company, and more. Her well-loved guided meditations that started out being recorded in my “cloffice” (a closet-office) have now been enjoyed for over 8 million minutes around the globe. Lisa graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN and was born and raised in Menlo Park, CA.
Appreciation Meditation with Elise Bialylew
THE LOVING-KINDNESS MEDITATION
“You yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
THE LOVING-KINDNESS MEDITATION
The loving-kindness meditation, traditionally called the Metta practice, is a simple but profoundly powerful one. It not only helps us develop compassion in our lives, but also acts as an antidote to the negative feelings we can experience towards ourselves or others.
In an interview with Sharon Salzberg, one of the world’s leading insight meditation teachers (you’ll hear her fabulous interview on the last day), she explains:
“Sometimes loving-kindness is described as extending friendship to ourselves and others. I think of it as a type of self therapy, where we don’t just develop self acceptance, but we also develop the skills to alchemise negative feelings towards others into compassion.
Loving-kindness is a form of love that is an ability, and, as research scientists have shown, it can be learned. It is the ability to look at ourselves and others with kindness instead of reflexive criticism; to include in our concern not only those we love but others in our lives who we are less attached to. It invites us to care for ourselves unconditionally instead of thinking, ‘I will love myself as long as I never make a mistake.’ It is the ability to gather our attention and really listen to others, even those we’ve written off as not worth our time.”
If you’re new to the loving-kindness meditation, bring an open mind and heart to the meditation today and don’t get caught up in the words, but rather the intention and spirit of the practice. The benefits of this practice can unexpectedly arise in your daily life, so stick with it and practise it throughout the week alongside the other meditations. You can also change the words so that they suit you more and feel more resonant and meaningful. Make it your own.
It felt awkward and forced for me initially, but it has become a practice that nourishes me, especially when I’m feeling depleted or despairing about the state of the world and the immense suffering that exists within it. The practice is an opportunity to pause and consciously bring kindness and compassion to ourselves and others. It’s a beautiful way of reminding ourselves of the truth of our interdependence and interconnectedness. Through the practice, we connect with the universal desire for happiness and our shared vulnerability in the face of constant change.
I'd love to hear about your experience of the Lovingkindness Kindness meditation in our Mindful in May community Facebook group!
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Watch Elise's conversations with four leading wellbeing experts.