Short Moments, Many Times.
Here is a short exercise we are working on in our mediation, mindfulness and spiritual growth community. Sharing it here with the hope that some of our more intuitive friends find it helpful as well! 🙂
Short Moments. Many times.
There is a great meditation practice called METTA. (it’s often called loving kindness in the West)
It sounds goofy – but’s it’s life changing, brain changing, body changing, behavior changing stuff.
The Dali Lama once said – “if you want other people to be happy, practice compassion. If YOU want to be happy, practice compassion”
Metta, or loving kindness meditation, is the meditation gift that keeps on giving. It literally changes your brain in a way that can transform your experience of being alive. (after all…..all spiritual growth has to include self care – and our internal experience is truly the one thing we can’t escape, and must master if we want to live full, rich and rewarding lives)
But Metta – as it’s traditionally done – can take a minute. (or 20 🙂
And it can take a bit to work yourself up to the really feel good flow states that it promises.
But the general idea is super simple. Just connect to the feeling of loving people. Starting with yourself. Than someone you already love like a sibling or a close friend. (not a romantic partner). Then someone you hardly know. Then someone you can’t stand. And eventually, feel that same sense of intense care and connection and compassion for ALL living beings.
Often, I don’t have the patience, or the time to sit and let my love go and grow and flow….especially when I’m angry, anxious, late, broke, feeling unappreciated, overworked and a zillion other negative emotions directed at myself…and others.
So here is a hack that works – almost every time.
Instead of sitting down and doing this formal practice – I simply look at people and wish them happiness, intentionally, before I even say a word.
I’ll see someone as i’m walking out of my place in the morning….and make eye contact (without looking scary, I hope) and just say to myself – while smiling (without looking scary, I hope)
“may you be happy. may you be healthy. may you be loved” .
I’ll picture them smiling and laughing and having a great time in some other time and place, too with parents and spouses and kids and neighbors that may not even have.
I just picture them being loved, and feeling loved, and i try to love them, in that moment, for no good reason – other than because it feels awesome. 🙂
And it works!
Short moments, many times. What you energize, increases. And the more you do this practice, the more short moments of intense love you feel for people for no reason at all….the more loved, and the more loving, you feel.
You can’t be mean to the person at the store, 2 seconds after you intentionally wished them intense happiness without wanting anything in return. The brain doesn’t work that – and for that we ought to be thankful.
It’s like a guilty pleasure, because even if they don’t reciprocate (pro tip: which is always – they rarely even smile back) You feel good about you, and good about them, and for the briefest of moments in our crazy, hazy and super wacky world we find ourselves all living in these days – good about everything! (No meditation cushion required)