Take some time to join Sharon Salzberg in a seven-minute loving kindness meditation that will open your heart and calm your mind.
You can begin by sitting down in a comfortable position, closing your eyes. Sit with your back erect, without being strained or overarched.
Take a few deep breaths, relax your body. Feel your energy settle into your body and into the moment.
See if certain phrases emerge from your heart that express what you wish most deeply for yourself, not just for today, but in an enduring way. Phrases that are big enough and general enough that you can ultimately wish them for all of life, for all beings everywhere.
Classical phrases are things like, "May I live in safety. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I live with ease."
You can gently repeat these phrases over and over again, have your mind rest in the phrases and whenever you find your attention has wandered, don't worry about it. When you recognize you've lost touch with the moment, see if you can gently let go and begin again.
May I live in safety, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
Call to mind somebody that you care about--a good friend, or someone who's helped you in your life, someone who inspires you. You can visualize them, say their name to yourself. Get a feeling for their presence, and then direct the phrases of lovingkindness to them. May you live in safety, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
Call to mind someone you know who's having a difficult time right now. They've experienced a loss, painful feeling, a difficult situation. If somebody like that comes to mind, bring them here.
Imagine them sitting in front of you. Say their name. Get a feeling for their presence and offer the phrases of lovingkindness to them.
live in safety. Be happy. Be healthy, live with ease."
Think of someone who plays some role in your life, some function that you don't know very well, that you don't have a particular feeling for, or against. Maybe the checkout person at the supermarket where you shop, the gas-station attendant, somebody that you see periodically. If someone like that comes to mind, imagine them sitting in front of you, and offer these same phrases of lovingkindness to them.
May you live in safety. Be happy. Be healthy, live with ease.
We connect into these phrases, aiming the heart in this way, we're opening ourselves to the possibility of including, rather than excluding, of connecting, rather than overlooking, of caring, rather than being indifferent. And ultimately, we open in this way to all beings everywhere, without distinction, without separation.
May all beings live in safety, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
All people, all animals, all creatures, all those in existence, near and far, known to us and unknown to us. All beings on the earth, in the air, in the water. Those being born, those dying.
May all beings everywhere live in safety, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
You feel the energy of this aspiration extending infinitely in front of you, to either side, behind you, above and below. As the heart extends in a boundless way, leaving no one out, may all beings live in safety, be happy, be healthy, live with ease.
And when you feel ready, you can open your eyes and see if you can bring this energy with you throughout the day.