How to connect to other people while holding your centre – a new loving-kindness sadhana

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Forty Days of Loving Kindness Meditation
See all articles in the Forty Days of Loving Kindness Meditation series here.

Hugs at Paekakariki

Hugs at Paekakariki

Perhaps my biggest discovery this year has been the power of sadhana. I started my new years with a Forty Day Sadhana of Sodarshan Chakra Kriya. It took me a bit longer than forty days to finish it, as I missed a day at day 35 and had to start all over again… but boy was it powerful when I finally finished.

I was super excited when I started my next sadhana – all about accessing infinite energy and prosperity. Unfortunately, I had to stop that one at Day 15 because I discovered I was pregnant. With stomach pumps a vital part of the meditation, I just couldn’t do it anymore!

While on holiday in Arrowtown last week, I stumbled upon my next sadhana in Jack Kornfield’s book A Path with Heart.

My biggest struggle, and therefore greatest opportunity at this time, has been in relationship – primarily with my partner, but also with all people in general. I have had tendencies to feel disconnected, separate, judgmental, critical… and have found it hard to be relaxed, open, warm and heart-centred… except when my heart does feel open. The stark contrast between these two states of being has inspired and motivated me to find practices that help with heart opening.

So when I read all about a loving-kindness meditation, I just knew that was the practice for me right now.

Exceedingly simple, it only requires that I sit in a comfortable pose (cross-legged on a cushion works great), and silently repeat four lines over and over:

May I be filled with loving kindness

May I be well

May I be peaceful and at ease

May I be happy

I decided to commit to 10 minutes a day, but in reality, I’ve been doing 20 to 30 minutes. It’s such a simple practice. Sit down, say four lines repeatedly, in English no less, and that’s it. How could it possibly have any effect on the body, mind or soul. Yet effects it does have!

For one, I don’t want to stop sitting – I usually wish I had more time to extend my meditation period out. I’d like to be able to sit for an hour to see what that was like.

Usually in seated meditation, twenty minutes leaves my legs numb and cramped by the end. Lately however, the states of numbness has been getting less and less, and sitting has become more and more easeful… and yes, peaceful!

I feel a greater sense of balance and equaniminity within. Events just don’t effect me as much as they once did. Something can happen which would usually see me get frustrated, or pissed off, or have a rant and rave to let off steam… but instead, I may note those types of sensations arising within, but I just let them go, stay calm, and know that it will all work out, one way or another.

My attitude towards other people is softening and opening. I am definitely becoming much less judgmental – those old thoughts that used to arise as I’d watch other people react to life ‘They should do this, they should do that…’ just aren’t popping up anymore. I beginning to get a real sense of how all people are just doing the best they can in their circumstances with the level of awareness and understanding they have.

My life has a number of things going on it which many would label “stressers”, a great deal of uncertainty, pressure, change… yet I have this clear sense of connection to my core and an understanding that all I need do is breath in this moment, be in this moment, respond with awareness in this moment… and all is well. it’s such a powerful thing to experience.

A friend, fellow meditator and ex-monk Peter Fernando was sharing some of his meditation experiences with me over coffee the other day, and he said he’d done this same practice for nearly four months during his time at the monastery. In fact, his teacher had directed him to drop all other practices, and only do the loving-kindness meditation. Peter said after that time, the whole world changed. Nothing was ever the same again. At only 2 weeks into this meditation, I get a sense of it’s power, and how what Peter says is true.

I am so excited about this particular meditation practice that I want to put a call to action out to my readers to commit to doing this sadhana along with me. You don’t necessarily have to do ten minutes – perhaps just five minutes a day (and I say that because I just know once you commit to that daily five minutes, you’ll want to do more.)

But not only do I want you to do the meditation, I’d like you to publicly state you’re going to do it, down in the comment section below. Just leave me a line or two, and say ‘Yeah KL, I’ll join you in the loving-kindness meditation’, or something similar ;)  I’m going to give away three books from my personal library to one person who leaves a comment. When I finish my sadhana (26 more days to go), I’ll randomly pick a winner, and send them three books of their choice.

So please, join me. Commit to a loving kindness sadhana, and change the way you experience the world – and watch the world change as a result.

Read more: Forty Days of Loving Kindness MeditationInside the experience of a loving-kindness sadhana to Day 20

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Comments

  1. Zanet Stader says

    Dear Kara-Leah,
    I will start….The meditation sounds so “heartbreaking,overwhelmingly beautiful’ and I think we all need something so encouraging for ourselves and may it bring whatever it brings :-))

  2. Kara-Leah Grant says

    Dear Zanet,

    I knew you’d be up for it! Lovely to have you along, I think you’ll really, really enjoy it. I’m glad the taste tester in last night’s class got you interested.

    Really looking forward to hearing how it goes for everyone :)

    Blessings,
    KL

  3. Kara-Leah Grant says

    Hey Amy,

    LOVE the enthusiasm. Great to have you along for the loving-kindness ride.

    Blessings,
    KL

  4. David Driscole says

    Following my 2009 intentional quest for truth, development and adventure, I’m in :-) Are you thinking of putting together a facebook group to share our journeys together?

  5. Kara-Leah Grant says

    Hey Tash,

    Great to have you along too.

    Hey David,

    Love your 2009 Quest – how awesome. And great question about a facebook page. Let me ponder it for the morning, and after I’ve done the day’s meditation, I’ll get back to you. I’m thinking though, that it’s a fabulous idea, and will gather more people who don’t necessarily read this website (yet!).

    I wonder how many people we can get to do a loving-kindness meditation daily? And what impact that would have?

    Big hugs all!
    KL

  6. Anne-Marie says

    Hi Kara-Leah. This sounds like a practice I need – I’m definitely in. In fact I’m off to the beach right now to start. [I should point out that I am just over half-way through a 100-day sadhana, but I will add the loving-kindness meditation to what I'm already doing for the rest of my sadhana.] Rangimarie.

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Anne-Marie,

      Awesome – can think of no-where better to practice than the beach.

      And as per David’s suggestion above, I’ve created a facebook page for this meditation – click on that link to join, and share experiences, questions and general encouragement for the sadhana.

      Blessings,
      KL

  7. Yvonne Anderson says

    Well what a lovely gentle way to look after our highest self.

    I have been aiming to try out all the yoga classes Wellington has to offer but I injured my neck recently and have been told to wait a while longer until it is a bit stronger.

    Would love to connect with you though. Perhaps I could contact you to arrange a meet up somewhere?

    Take care

  8. Linda Ryder says

    Namaste thank you for inviting me to share this wonderful practice. It will be a great way to focus on the events around Sept’s Global Mala. In Love and Light Linda

  9. Theresa Wedemeyer says

    This is great! I always seem to get frazzled at the beginning of a new school year. This will help center me and be more open spirit to the kids. Thanks Doll! You always seem to have perfect timing!! Hmmmm? Must be something to that!

  10. Kara-Leah Grant says

    Thanks to everyone for committing to do this meditation, and entering the competition. I hope you got as much out of it as I have!

    I just did the draw for the winner – 11 numbers in a bowl, and Commenter #2 won.

    So congratulations to Zanet, winner of the three books.

    Thanks all for entering.
    Namaste,
    KL

  11. Hannah says

    This loving-kindness sadhana is absolutely amazing! i feel a huge smile come to my face and my whole being soften while i say it (especially out loud). its exactly what i was looking for and didn’t even know it. i’m 4 days into a 30 day yoga challenge, and this will be a wonderful wonderful addition. thanks for sharing!

    h

  12. jade says

    Hi Karla-leah,
    I have just discovered this site and, yes, I will begin the loving kindness meditation today ( yummy : ))
    I borrowed ‘A path with heart’ from a friend and its been sitting in my room untouched for 2 weeks. This has been a lovely reminder to read it.
    Thank you : )

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Morgan,

      Sweet – it’s been a year or so since I completed this sadhana and it was definitely transformational in so many ways. Hope it goes well for you!

      Blessings,
      KL

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Jules,

      Awesome stuff – come back and comment and let me know how you get on. I still rate this as one of the easiest and most profound sadhanas I’ve ever done.

      Plus I was pregnant at the time, and my child, Samuel has turned out to be very happy, peaceful, loving, kind and at ease with life :)

      Many blessings,
      KL

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Rebecca,

      Fantastic – enjoy the experience, and please come back and tell us how it went!

      Many blessings,
      KL

  13. Michelle says

    Definitely in! Only a few years behind everyone else ;o)
    This is exactly what i’ve been looking for, which is obviously why I’ve just been led to this article today. Can’t wait to get started – in fact, i shall start now!
    Michelle

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Hey Michelle,

      Better late than never! It’s a great practice, and one I’ve returned to a few times since doing this forty day practice. May it be powerful & transformative for you!

  14. Helen says

    Hi KL I wanted you to know that even though your article is 3 years old, it is still finding its way into the hearts of those who need it. I was led to it today and decided to practice before I commented. What a wonderful meditation. I will continue.

    • Kara-Leah Grant says

      Helen,

      That is so wonderful to hear… I love this practice. May it work well for you too.

      Blessings,
      KL

  15. Lauren says

    I would like to stop dwelling on disappointment. I feel let down by those that I make a effort to communicate with and support and do not feel they reciprocate. I want to react as if it doesn’t matters what others do in return., that It is of no consequence. I am good at acting as if it doesn’t matter but emotionally and physically I feel sapped of energy.

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