Giving thanks, gratitude for what you have, for where you are, for the loved ones around you, all the small things like your morning ritual of having a cup of tea! I was reading the Life magazine today after meditation class and Jamie Heaslip the retired Irish rugby player brought home the practice of gratitude. ‘I am very grateful for where we are right now. You do have to give thanks and, for me, gratitude is a big thing. Every evening I write a little note of gratitude in a journal. I give thanks and I let it out into the ether and just let it be. I deal with life as it comes, but right now I feel a very lucky man.’
We had a glorious calming meditation class this morning where we went through two stages of Loving Kindness practice. The Loving Kindness practice originated in the Buddhist tradition, where it is called ‘Metta Bhavana’. The practice helps us to develop feelings of kindness, compassion, friendliness, love and acceptance, of ourselves and towards others.
One piece of homework from today was to keep a gratitude journal – at the end of each day, write down three things you’re grateful for. It’s best to be specific and details about particular occurrence during the day. Seeing a beautiful sunrise, getting a seat on the bus, having a coffee with your best friend..see what Oprah has to say.
Here’s one of the science based reasons to practice loving-kindness, you’ll see the impact within 7 weeks!
Increases Positive Emotions & Decreases Negative Emotions; In a landmark study, Barbara Frederickson and her colleagues ( Fredrickson, Cohn, Coffey, Pek, & Finkel, 2008) found that practicing 7 weeks of loving-kindness meditation increased love, joy, contentment, gratitude, pride, hope, interest, amusement, and awe. These positive emotions then produced increases in a wide range of personal resources (e.g., increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, decreased illness symptoms), which, in turn, predicted increased life satisfaction and reduced depressive symptoms.
You may have tried meditation once or twice. And many of you will have found it hard and concluded that “meditation is not for me.” There are mantra meditations, visualization meditations, open-focus meditations, breath-based meditations and so many more. You just have to find the one for you! An easy one to start with is one that evokes a very natural state in you: kindness.
In the meantime wish yourself well
May I be well. May I be happy. May I live with ease.