A Apply for Growing Kindness Towards Your self

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Valerie Mason-John, author of Detox Your Heart: Meditations for Emotional Healing, shares a meditation to cultivate a positive relationship with yourself and thus with the world.

Hand over heart.

Photo by Anh Phan.

When we take positive action and respond creatively to our anger, we take good care of ourselves. Taking care of our heart, mind, and body means taking positive action. Learning to be kind and loving to ourselves is a challenge. It is also part of lifelong practice to work with our anger.

There is a meditation called Metta Bhavana, which has its origins in the Buddhist tradition. Metta means loving-kindness and bhavana means developing. This meditation teaches us to be kind and gentle by maintaining a positive relationship with ourselves and the rest of the world. Loving-kindness can be the beginning of compassion for ourselves and the way to end anger in our hearts and minds. It’s what I’ve used to clear the toxins of anger, hate, and fear from my heart. It was the alchemy in my life.

The first phase of this meditation changed my life. Here I was faced with the question, “If I cannot feel love for myself, how can I feel healthy love for others?

Below are instructions for this first phase of meditation. Hope you find it as revolutionary as I do over time.

Developing friendliness towards yourself – a metta practice

  • Close your eyes and ground yourself in your seat. Make sure you are fully supported and your feet are firmly on the floor.
  • Become aware of the breath permeating your body. Imagine if it was a spray that removes the toxins from your heart.
  • After a minute, try to imagine yourself looking back at yourself or see yourself in a beautiful place that you enjoy. Or just quietly call your name. Don’t forget to breathe.
  • After another minute, say to yourself, “May I be happy,” then breathe and notice how it feels. Then say, “May I be fine,” then breathe and notice how it feels. Then say, “May I be kind to my suffering,” and then breathe.
  • Allow yourself to sit in silence with whatever comes up. After a few minutes, say, “May I cultivate more kindness in my heart. May I cultivate more peace in my heart. May I develop and grow. “
  • Keep reciting these sentences, leaving a minute or two in between, staying in touch with yourself the entire time.
  • After ten minutes, stop the exercise.

If you practice this weekly it will transform your heart. If you do it on a daily basis, it will make positive changes in your life.

When our hearts are full of love and kindness for ourselves, there is little room for anger. Such states of mind may arise, but love is the cleansing water that quenches the flames of anger.

Reproduced from Valerie Mason-John’s book Detox Your Heart: Meditations for Emotional Healing, with permission from Wisdom Publications.

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