The concept of mindfulness has been touched upon in an earlier blog entry, but Buddhism has other ways of taking care of yourself and being aware of your own needs besides that. One of the more interesting and accessible concepts is that of metta, or lovingkindness.
It’s actually a form of meditation that focuses on wishing well to a series of people in a process that guides you through a process that starts with yourself and ends as widely as you can manage at the time. I particularly like the way this meditation forces me to let go of all my worries through focusing on being good to myself for a change, and then moving on to wishing well to friends, random people and those I am not particularly fond of, or even I feel strongly negative about.
The whole process is an exercise in calming myself down and to focus on one thing at a time. That is not to say that the focus is on nothingness, but there is a specific focus on one single person for most of the meditation. I particularly enjoy the focus on myself in those moments. It’s strange how we can more easily focus on ourselves and our wellbeing when we are guided towards it during a meditation or some kind of mediation through a third party!
Many of us either feel unworthy of lovingkindness or the thought of directing those sentiments towards ourselves never crosses our mind! This meditation is meant to change that. Indeed, the primary goal is to change our stance towards others, particularly those we are opposed to, but it’s amazing how being aware of others makes us more aware of our own need to receive kindness.
Expressing lovingkindness towards others ultimately leads to receiving some of it in return, from ourselves AND from others. At the very least we will be more open to realise when something is coming our way, to be more accepting of the small joys we encounter during the day, to see our surroundings in a slightly more benevolent light.
I strongly recommend trying this half-hour meditation and experience what difference it makes to you. Enter with an open mind and 30 minutes without distraction ahead of you.
Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.” (Jonathan Lockwood Huie)
Where is the link to decluttering, you ask? Well, simply put, if you find yourself being kind to yourself you might come to the conclusion that some of the ideas you hold true, and much of the stuff you hang on to, may not make you more happy or feel more kindly towards yourself. Just remember those things you put off for another day: how can you feel kind to yourself when you clearly have not been doing what you were ‘supposed to’. Or that sense of ‘lack of achievement’ when you didn’t manage to give your best.
Lovingkindness is a good way to remind yourself that irrespective of these things, you deserve kindness, from yourself and others. And you should always strive towards that goal.
If you have enjoyed reading this, you may find these other articles interesting:
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.