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.