Experiment 6: 30 Minute Daily Loving/Kindness Meditation
+Gave more to charity than any other month.
Increased feelings of:
I meditate every day. It’s become a chain habit (some would say addiction!) that I will do anything not to break. Even if you can only manage to mediate for 1 minute a day, you’ll likely see huge benefits on your health and productivity. I highly recommend it.
The style of meditating I usually do is a breathing meditation. I know of, and have done other forms, including a loving/kindness meditation but never a regular practice.
As it was the holiday season and I wanted to focus on being kinder and more understanding, I thought it would be a good idea to experiment on the benefits of doing a daily loving/kindness meditation.
Even though I am part of a loving family, there can be times when we are all annoying. I thought that the loving kindness meditation would help, not just with increasing the love I showed, but also increasing my understanding when I am inevitably annoyed by something. No one likes to be annoyed, I want to make the most of the precious time that I have with my family while I was in the UK for Christmas. I thought this experiment would help to increase the love them and others, something you can never have too much of.
Loving/Kindness meditation works in three (or sometimes 4) parts, visualizing:
2. Someone that you care deeply for – This could be a parent, child or other family member.
3. Someone that you feel indifferent towards – Postman, bus driver, grocery store employee
4. Someone that you have negative feelings towards – Someone who has hurt you
Each stage becomes harder, as you try and show love and kindness to each person. If you are finding it hard to show love to someone at stage 3/4 it can sometimes be better to focus on the lower stages before up leveling.
When I started meditating I used a guided meditations to help me stay focused and to help remind me when my mind was wondering. I found a 30 minute guided meditation which I used to help provide structure over this 30 day challenge, which I recommend:
As I was not accustomed to using a guided meditation, I found it a little distracting at first. I would become focused and then found the audio to jolt me out of the loving/kindness zone that I was in.
After a few days however, I become used to the guided meditation and found it to be a helpful structure to the 30 day challenge.
The problem with a 30 day challenge like this is that it is hard to measure results as they are very anecdotal. I did notice that I gave more money to charity during these 30 days than any other month. I felt less stressed and happier, being more grateful that I was with my family and seeing annoyances as an opportunity to learn and be patient and a reminder that I have them myself.
I missed 4 days of doing the loving/kindness meditation around Christmas day. On these days I did a shorter meditation. I didn’t beat myself up about it, after all the meditation taught me to be kind to myself!
Overall I am very pleased with the results. I am going to carry on doing the Loving/Kindness meditation for 30 minutes everyday in the morning and do my breathing meditation in the evening for 30 minutes.
For someone who has not meditated before 30 minutes can be a daunting prospect. If you are interested in meditating, but would like a shorter meditation, send me a message and I can provide you with some free.
Picture by Moyan Brenn on Flickr