Loving kindness meditation
The Emotional Plane of the Energetic Life Cycle is all about finding balance between focus on the individual and focus on the community. Both of these are very important; finding balance between these two ideas is key.
If you focus all of your energy inwards, your life will lack context and fulfillment. Humans are social animals and having a sense of community is critical to our survival. In fact, a major meta-analysis of the scientific literature done at Brigham Young University showed that social isolation is just as significant of a predictor of mortality as smoking.
If you focus all of your energy outwards (towards the community) however, you risk depleting your stores of energy. This is like the airline announcement about putting on your own oxygen mask before helping those around you. Self-care is part of the puzzle and it fills our energy stores back up, allowing us to continue to engage with the world.
Take a moment to reflect; how are you balancing focus on yourself versus engagement in your community today? How about over the last week? The last month? The last year? Your entire lifetime?
There will be times where it is important to let the scales tip to one side or the other. Part of finding balance is allowing things to shift from side to side. The goal, however, is for those shifts to average out over time.
One exercise that can help you find balance in this plane is the practice of Loving Kindness Meditation. In this exercise you send positive affirmations to yourself (individual focus) and to others; to someone you love, to a neutral figure in your life, to someone you are struggling with, and to the entire world. This practice has been studied extensively by neuroscientists, psychologists, medical doctors, and leaders from the holistic health field. Practicing this meditation has been shown to increase positive emotions, decrease chronic pain, increase gray matter volume in the brain, and increase feelings of social connection. If you’re curious, you can click here for an overview of the scientific studies about Loving Kindness Meditation.
Or maybe you just want to try it for yourself. Watch the YouTube video below that guides you through the practice. The affirmations you will use in the video are:
May I (you) be filled with loving kindness
May I (you) be safe from inner and outer dangers
May I (you) be well in body and mind
May I (you) be at ease and happy