“What is uttered from the heart alone, will win the hearts of others to your own.” ~ Goethe
It’s comforting to remember, when it comes to matters of the heart, we are all the same. So whether married, single (happily or not), divorced or widowed, in the name of unity – a sea of human souls are all searching for love.
Love comes in many forms and many guises, but it all seems to come down to that tricky concept – self-acceptance. It’s true when we can accept ourselves (our perfectly imperfect selves), love flows. And it flows from our own hearts – to every cell of our own being. And even if you only experience this for one second, consider yourself blessed. It’s in the trees, the sun rise, the birds, the animals, the children, the kindness of strangers and a random smile.
Begin with yourself. Let’s go back many millennia to a Buddhist tradition and the practice of Brahmaviharas and the first of these Metta (can be translated as loving kindness). Unconditional acceptance may be a radical thought for many of us, and a challenge for those of us who have trouble feeling worthy or deserving of love. Start small…
* Begin by sitting in a comfortable position
* Call to your mind a quality in yourself that you feel good about – or even a direct experience of a time when you did something you felt good about. It can be simple like helping a friend in need, a stranger or even preparing a nourishing meal for your family
* As you settle into your breath and that feeling of goodness, bring your attention to your heart centre and acknowledge how the heart feels. Closed, open? Receptive or wounded? Heavy or light? Try not to judge, just observe and try to befriend your heart.
* Then begin to repeat these Metta phrases:
– May I be happy.
– May I be peaceful.
– May I be safe from harm.
– May I enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.
– May I experience ease and well-being in body, mind, and spirit.
* Notice your body’s response to these phrases. Your breath, the reverberations of the echoes in your mind’s ear. Try to connect with that feeling of compassion and goodness.
* Even if it feels inauthentic, keep trying. Sending love to a closed heart is still a practice until the opening comes.
* If you drift off, let it go and come back when you feel ready
It’s a beautiful practice and a gentle reminder that kindness begins with kindness to ourselves. It’s a cliche, yes, but it really does work.