This is a informal practice called finding loving-kindness phrases, which offers guidance for finding phrases that you might like to repeat again and again in meditation.
It is a pen and paper exercise. So we will be closing our eyes, doing a little reflection: opening our eyes, writing, closing our eyes, opening our eyes, writing and then closing your eyes again, and practicing with the phrases that we learned. So before we start, please make sure that you have a pen and paper available.
Explore This Guided Meditation
Find Your Loving-Kindness Phrases
- When you’re ready, find a comfortable position. Gently closing your eyes and put a hand over your heart or elsewhere, some other comforting place perhaps.
- Just feel your body gently breathe. Perhaps even feeling your breath gently caresses you from the inside. And then taking a moment to allow your heart to gently open, to become receptive.
- Perhaps imagining imagining that there is a flower bud in your heart region, and then as if with time-lapse photography, allowing that bud to open as a flower opens in the warm sun. Allowing your heart to open and to be receptive, ask yourself the following question: What to be? What do I as a person really need? Allowing some replies, some answers to arise for you. What do I need? What do I really need?
- What this means is that, at the end of the day if this hasn’t happened, then the day doesn’t doesn’t feel complete. Something still needs to happen. Something that you need every day, and also letting the answer be a universal human need, such as the need to be connected. Aid for kindness, peac,e freedom. So what is it that you need for your day to be fulfilled? What is it? The answer will be very simple. And then when you’re ready, please open your eyes and write down what arose for you.
- Now the words that you wrote down can be used in meditation just as they are. You can simply repeat those words, because in a sense they are a wish for yourself, knowing what you need. But you can also rewrite them formally as wishes for yourself, if you like. So for example, a wish might include, might begin with the words, “may I.” May I feel connected to others. May I be kind to myself. May I begin to be kind to myself. May I live in peace, may I be free.
- So finding for yourself whatever language captures the spirit of a wish, or you can just hold the attitude of the wish, as you repeat any phrase or any word, allowing the word to be a inclination of your heart, kind and warm, a gift.
- And then when you’re ready, please close your eyes again and consider a second question, and that is if I could, what do I need to hear? What do I need to hear from others? In other words, what words do I need to hear? Because as a person, I really need to hear words like this.
- So this takes some courage, takes the innocent heart. Sometimes we need to allow ourselves to be a little vulnerable. What are those words that you need to hear? For example: I love you. I’m here for you. You’re a good person.
- So just opening the door of your heart and waiting for some words to come. Another way of saying this is that if I could, what words would I like to hear whispered into my ear every day for the rest of my life? Words that when I hear them might make me say oh, thank you, thank you. Words that would just open your heart with gratitude every time. What are those words? If you could hear them, what would they be? And when you have some words, then please gently opening your eyes and writing them down.
- And if you heard a lot of words, perhaps seeing if you can make the words into a short phrase, kind of a message to yourself. Now these words too can be used in a loving-kindness meditation, just as they are for example just I love you or I’m here for you.
- Or you can rewrite them as wishes for yourself, because actually the words that we would like to hear from others again and again are qualities that we’d like to realize in our own lives or attitudes which we wish to firmly implant in our hearts. For example, the reason I might like to hear “I love you” again and again is because I might not be fully convinced that I’m love or lovable. So I need to hear them.
- So the question is, what do you want to know for sure? And so you can reframe your words as a wish for yourself. So for example if you heard I love you, that can be rewritten as the wish “may I love myself just as I am.” Or “may I know that I am loved.” Or if you heard I’m here for you, maybe that can become a wish like “may I be there for myself, may I live in connection.” If you heard you’re a good person perhaps the wish would be “ay I know my own good.” So please take a moment and perhaps rewrite what you heard as a wish for yourself if you like or just leave it in its original form.
- And now you have a chance to review everything that you’ve written so far and please settle at least for now on two or three words or phrases that you would like to use in meditation. So these words or phrases are gifts to yourself that you will offer to yourself in meditation. So what would you like those words to be, or what would you like those phrases to be?
- So please choose two or three and then commit them to memory, thinking you’re timed to and then remember. Now we will close our eyes for the last time and for another five minutes, begin using these phrases in meditation, ever so slowly and gently beginning to whisper these words into your own ear. As if you were whispering them into the ear of a dear friend. As if you’re whispering them into the ear of someone whom you love very much.
- Whispering these words, saying these words again and again, and when your mind wanders you could always put a hand over your heart, or some other place as a way of reminding ourselves of the target of the one to whom we’re offering this kindness. Feeling your own physical body, and then offering yourself these words offering the words to this one body.
- Hearing them in your ear and if you like really allowing the words in, letting the words and that is to say allowing the words to resonate within you. Perhaps even allowing all your cells to absorb them if you like hearing the words from the inside.
- Hearing them echo again and again through your body, allowing the words to feel you’re being, repeating them again and again. Letting them feel you’re being if only for this one moment.
- For now letting them be so and now gently releasing the phrases releasing them you can always return to them and allowing yourself to rest in the experience. What was it like for those words to resonate through your being or simply to offer them to yourself this gift?
- But also letting the practice be just as it was, no more and no less at is self-compassion, letting it be just as it was and also allowing yourself to be just as you are, right here and right now like this, and please consider that this exercise could be only the beginning of a search for phrases that are just right for you. Beginning of a poetic journey, of an inner journey, of an opening and awakening to what is really real for you.
- Then offering that to yourself when you’re ready, gently opening your eyes.
This practice originally appeared on ChrisGermer.com.