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Self-Loving Kindness Meditation

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TAKING A on “Meditation and Mindfulness in a Clinical Practice: Enhancing Treatment Effectiveness and for Personal Wellbeing” at Harvard Medical School online class was a bit of a challenge. Our twelve-hour time difference from Boston, turned my circadian rhythm upside down.

We start our class at 9:30 in the evening (9:30 morning in Boston), which is my bedtime and end up early in the morning.

Nevertheless, the knowledge and perspectives that I gained after I completed the whole term is a lifetime treasure that I will certainly nurture.

I enrolled in this course to deepen my meditation practice and to widen my understanding. Thus, I could assist my students, clients, friends, and family better  in their wellbeing concerns.
In the program, different kinds of meditation approaches were presented. Each one specifically designed for a particular clinical condition.

The mindfulness systems presented are remarkably effective and scientifically proven according to Harvard School clinical researchers and medical experts. These are now being used in some hospitals, medical clinics, rehabilitation centers, geriatric institutions in the USA, Europe, and even in Asia. They serve as an adjunct therapy or a standalone for mental, emotional, and physical disorders.

Dr. Susan Pollak, my lovely teacher, a psychologist who authored many books on the subject, touched many points in the process which gave clarity and understanding to some skeptic minds in my class. She smoothly went through each topic masterfully as we listened to her angelic comforting voice.

Ninety percent of my classmates are: psychiatrists, psychologists, geriatricians, and clinical life coaches, which shows how meditation is now being recognized in the world for its powerful benefits to humanity.

The self-loving kindness meditation composition took my attention the most during our class. In the course of our practice, I realized how little time I put to care for myself. I always set others’ needs before me and it leaves me exhausted. Self-loving kindness meditation is a practice for everyone. It is also a good self-heal treatment for unsettled emotional disturbances. It is simple, yet impactful.

To begin with, find a comfortable position. You may want to sit, lie down or stand. Some people have a difficult time staying seated for long. In this case, you may lie down or stand up.

Everyone responds and reacts differently in given situations. We need just to accept and respect each one’s preferences, especially yours, and go on with the practice. This way, we keep the peace and harmony around us and inside us.

You may close your eyes or keep them open. One of my students gets tense and freaks out whenever he closes his eyes on his meditation practice. He exclaimed that instead of making him calm, it gives him tension. Again, we are all different. Do what makes you comfy.

Next, do the body scanning. Scan your body, beginning from the top of your head, going down, up to the bottom of your feet. Say soften, soften, soften to each part (in words or in your mind) as you do the scanning. You may also want to start from your feet, going up to your head. It is up to you.

And if you find  stiffness or discomfort, say soothe, soothe, soothe, to that part and move along.
Now, think about yourself. Ask mentally, how are you and see how your body responds. Feel. Then say your loving kindness phrases to yourself (mentally or in words): May I be kind to myself; May I be loving to myself; May I care for myself; May I bring peace to myself; May I bring happiness to myself; May I be strong for myself; May I be healthy for myself; May I accept myself for who I am. Repeat the phrases at least 3 times. You may add more positive phrases as you wish. Stay for 1-2 minutes.

Afterwards, think of a person, who is being difficult to you or who takes your peace away. Bring in the person where you are and Imagine the person is standing in front of you or just visualize his/her face.

Calmly, to that person say (mentally or verbally): May you be safe; May you be happy; May you be loved; May you be healthy; May you be in peace; May you be blessed with wisdom; May you be strong; May you be kind; May you find compassion.

Again, you may add more kind lines as you want. Repeat the phrases 3 times, or even more if it suits you. Try to understand from your loving heart why is this person behaves in such a way? Was he traumatized when he was young? Was he abused? Was he brought up right? Watch him without judgment.

If you start feeling uncomfortable while doing the practice, say soften, soften, soften to yourself or to the part that is tensing. You may also put your hand on it. Keep on bring loving kindness as challenging emotions appears. You may say, soothe, soothe, soothe to ease the unsettling feeling or you may utter peace, peace, peace.

In case, it’s too much for you, stop the process. Just like in an emergency situation in the plane, you need to put your own oxygen mask first before helping others. In other words, self-love comes first.

After, say your loving kindness phrases again to yourself 3 times.

After the practice, stay for a moment and slowly come back to the present. You may want to keep still a little longer, and reflect.

Self-compassion meditation can be your friendly tool to address your emotional trouble, harvested from the past or present, developed into anxiety, trauma, sadness and anger.

You may use it like a natural medicine with no adverse side effects. As a matter of fact, the more you use it, the better you will become.

May you be brave. May you be joyful. May you be safe. May you be loved and cared for. May you be healed. May loving kindness never leave your side.

Namaste.

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