In the wake of the horrific events that unfolded November 13th in Paris, it is challenging to focus on a prayer of gratitude. Why? Because there are so many other prayers that need to be said for and about these tragic events. Yet as I sat in my Centering Prayer practice, the Buddhist lovingkindness meditation returned over and over. It is absolutely needed during this time.
Simply put, the lovingkindness meditation nurtures loving feelings for self and family (which might be easier to start with) in order to grow and extend that feeling of lovingkindness towards others, especially one’s enemies.
In order to conquer hate and violence, we need to grow and nurture our love. When put to the test, hopefully we can extend our love, rather than our anger and outrage.
Since I have read Jack Kornfield for years, I am providing his example of the lovingkindness meditation. The following is taken directly from https://www.jackkornfield.com/meditation-on-lovingkindness/.
Peace – Kathleen
Begin with yourself. Breathe gently, and recite inwardly the following traditional phrases directed toward our own well-being. You being with yourself because without loving yourself it is almost impossible to love others.
May I be filled with lovingkindness.
May I be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May I be well in body and mind.
May I be at ease and happy.
After focusing on yourself for five or ten minutes, choose a benefactor, someone in your life who has loved and truly cared for you. Picture this person and carefully recite the same phrases:
May you be filled with lovingkindness.
May you be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May you be well in body and mind.
May you be at ease and happy.
Continue to expand this meditation outwards from yourself (or those whom it is easy for you to feel love) to your neighbors, your community and so on and so on…all the way to Paris and beyond.