It seems fitting that I share today, on Valentines Day, one of my favourite (and most effective) meditation techniques, called loving kindness meditation. It is especially helpful in building and sustaining happiness (Fredrickson, Cohn et al 2008).
Loving kindness meditation changes habituated negative thinking patterns to develop a quality of ‘loving acceptance’. It also helps develop levels of empathy, with empathy being fundamental to successful relationships (and leadership).
Loving kindness meditation starts with sending loving kindness to yourself and then systematically to four other types of people, namely a respected person, a dearly loved person, a neutral person and a hostile person.
One of the most effective ways I find to practice loving kindness meditation is to sit or lie in savasana and then visualise each step by seeing yourself or the person that you are directing loving kindness to and then smiling and sending them the loving kindness.
If you feel resistance to any step, it means there is work to be done. Don’t worry, just start by doing the parts you are comfortable with and the rest can evolve as you are ready.
Have a loving and kind Valentines Day.