Loving-kindness meditations can offer you a place of comfort in your mind, a place of healing, and a place of hope. Welcome to the So, How’s Therapy Podcast where we push beyond the traditional therapy format to demystify, debunk, and destigmatize therapy. Hosted by Karen Conlon, LCSW, CCATP.
Everyone has kindness inside of them.
Sometimes, we don’t take the time to nurture or express kindness as much as we could. Kindness is linked to happiness, satisfaction in relationships, and improved quality of life overall. It helps people feel more connected to one another.
What You’ll Learn
- How to express loving-kindness toward yourself
- How to express loving-kindness toward people you love
- How to express loving-kindness toward those around you
- How to express loving-kindness toward difficult relationships
Hello everyone. This is Karen Conlon, your host of the So, How’s Therapy? Podcast. If you’ve heard this podcast before, you’ll notice that today’s episode is not starting with the regular peppy music that it starts with on a normal basis. And if this is your first time, I welcome you and I’m really glad to have you here.
So the reason that I decided to begin today’s episode with just a quick talk is because today I’m going to be offering you something different. I’d like to offer you something that I hope will provide you a place of comfort in your mind, a place of healing and a place of hope.
This has been such a tough 15 months. And just to give context, depending on when you’re listening to this, we are in the COVID pandemic. Vaccinations have been come available, but many of us are still while hopeful, really struggling with the after-effects of what this pandemic has brought to us and how it’s impacted our lives.
The constraints of this pandemic have forced many of us to be in situations that are difficult and strained our relationships. And also in many instances has taken away the way or the ways in which we normally are able to cope. So in honor and in support of healing, I wanted to offer you today a gentle and positive meditation called loving-kindness.
And what I’d like to invite you to do is if you haven’t already and if you’d like to be a part of it, please go ahead and pause this now. Find yourself a place where you can sit comfortably and find a place where you can sit quietly without interruption.
If you’re not able to do this now, that’s okay. I’d love for you to listen in later when you can make that type of space happen for yourself as I offer you this meditation, which I hope will bring you some peace and some comfort and most of all, a lot of hope for the future.
Become comfortable in your chair or cushion sitting with a relaxed but straight posture with your shoulders relaxed. Allow your hands to rest comfortably in your lap and gently close your eyes. Just settling into awareness of the body and the breath. Feeling into your body right now and just taking notice of what’s there. Opening yourself up to whatever is to be experienced in the body in this moment. Connecting the breath, noticing the wave-like movements of the belly, just ever so gently.
In this practice today, we’ll be cultivating loving-kindness. Loving-kindness is something that we all have within us, this natural capacity for loving-kindness or friendship that is unconditional and open, gentle, supportive. Loving-kindness is a natural opening of a compassionate heart to ourselves and to others. It’s a wish that everyone be happy.
We begin with developing loving-kindness towards ourselves first. Allowing our hearts to open up with tenderness. Now, allow yourself to remember and open up to your basic goodness. You might remember times when you have been kind or generous. You might recall your natural desire to be happy and not suffer.
If acknowledging your own goodness is difficult, perhaps look at yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you. What does that person love about you? Or you may recall the unconditional love that you felt from someone or something like a beloved pet. It may help to use the imagination and to picture yourself as a young child standing right before you, perhaps when you were three, four or five years of age, if that allows tender feelings of kindness to flow more easily.
And as you experience this love, notice how you feel in your body. Maybe you feel some warmth or heat in the face, perhaps a smile, a sense of expansiveness. This loving-kindness, a natural feeling that is accessible to all of us. Always accessible. Resting with this feeling of open, unconditional love, allow yourself a few minutes of this.
Loving-Kindness Toward Yourself
So beginning now to wish yourself well by extending words of loving-kindness to yourself. I’ll be offering as guidance the phrases that I’ve chosen to use in my own practice of loving-kindness. You’re invited to change these phrases and choose whatever words express your wishes of loving-kindness towards yourself and others. And now, offering these words in your mind for yourself.
May I be filled with loving-kindness. May I be filled and held in loving-kindness. May I feel connected and calm. May I accept myself just as I am. May I be happy. May I know the natural joy of being alive.
And now, repeating in the mind these words of friendship and kindness to yourself once again.
May I be filled with loving-kindness. May I be held in loving-kindness. May I feel connected and calm. May I accept myself just as I am. May I be happy. May I know the natural joy of being alive.
Loving-Kindness Toward Your Loved Ones
And now, I invite you to open the circle of loving-kindness by bringing to mind someone who is very dear to you, someone whom you care about and who has always been supportive. Reflect on this person’s basic goodness, sensing what it is in particular that you love about them.
In your heart, feel your appreciation for this dear person. And begin your simple offering to them. May you be filled with loving-kindness. May you be held in loving-kindness. May you feel my love now. May you accept yourself just as you are. May you be happy. May you feel and know the natural joy of being alive.
Loving-Kindness Toward Those Around You
Now, bring to mind a neutral person. This might be someone who you see regularly but don’t know well. It might be a neighbor or a grocery store clerk. Whoever this is, bring this person to mind now and repeat the words of loving-kindness. May you be filled with loving-kindness. May you be held in loving-kindness. May you feel my love now. May you accept yourself just as you are. May you be happy. May you know the natural joy of being alive.
Loving-Kindness Toward Difficult Relationships
And now, if it’s possible for you, bring to mind someone with whom you’ve had a difficult relationship, perhaps it’s someone who you don’t like to feel sympathy or compassion for. Seeing if it’s possible to let go of feelings of resentment or dislike for this person. Reminding yourself to see this person as a whole being, deserving of love and kindness. Seeing this person as someone who feels pain and anxiety and as someone who also suffers. Seeing if it’s possible to extend to this person the words of loving-kindness in your mind.
May you be filled with loving-kindness. May you be held in loving-kindness. May you feel my love now. May you accept yourself just as you are. May you be happy. May you feel and know the natural joy of being alive. Now, allow your awareness to open out in all directions, to yourself, a dear one, a neutral person, and a difficult person.
Loving-Kindness Toward All
And of all beings, humans and animals living everywhere, living in richness, poverty, war, peace, hunger, abundance, aware of all the joys and sorrows that all beings experience. May all beings be filled with loving-kindness. May all beings be happy. May all beings awaken and be free. May all beings be happy.
And now, I bring this practice of meditation of loving-kindness to a close by coming back to extend kindness to yourself. Sitting for a while, allow yourself to bask in the energy of loving-kindness that may have been generated here. Thank you for being here today. See you next time.
About So, How’s Therapy?
In each podcast episode, Karen and her guests work to push through the traditional therapy format to demystify, debunk, and destigmatize therapy.
Whether you’ve been in therapy for years, or are thinking about reaching out, Karen is here to guide you through it all.
She tackles everything from Anxiety, Trauma and PTSD, to Childhood Emotional Neglect, to dealing with chronic illness, and everything in between, through the lens of her private practice in New York City, Cohesive Therapy NYC.
About the author(s)
Karen is the founder and Clinical Director of Cohesive Therapy NYC. She earned a Masters in Social Work from New York University and has extensive training in Hypnosis, Anxiety, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Brainspotting, and DGBI. She is a member of the Institute of Certified Anxiety Treatment Professionals, The Rome Foundation, the National Association of Social Workers, The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, and the American Social of Clinical Hypnosis.