Loving Kindness as a meditation is not particular to a single practice. I read about it in Dr. Andrew Newberg’s book “How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain” which, in that context, had to do with his subject of enlightenment. Loving Kindness is a wide subject — in this post, we’ll focus on the simple meditation given in Dr. Newberg’s book, and information about how adopting the meditation as a practice can make life-changing positive adjustments in our brain and how we behave toward ourselves and others.
Negative thoughts and emotions ‘stick like velcro’ while positive ones slide away ‘like Teflon.” Yikes! Each time we call up a negative memory, insult, or offense, it strengthens our association with that memory — the brain sends out a distress signal to the whole body. We have to settle into the practice of Lovingkindness, maintaining a relaxed and positive attitude toward the offense or offender. It may take a considerable time to alter those negative thoughts, but with practice, they will change. The new and associated positive memory will become embedded in memory circuits, and your feelings of compassion for the other person and yourself will be what your memory calls up, instead of the opposite.
Practice is key!
Reflecting on forgiveness and compassion lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. Lovingkindness builds neurological empathy, acceptance, and compassion toward others. Researchers at Yale and Michigan State documented that it reduces negative biases we unconsciously hold toward others, and it increases the volume of key areas in the brain. When I studied an individual who practiced Lovingkindness meditation every day for a month, I found a change in the way her brain functioned throughout the day. She activated her emotional centers and social centers far more robustly after doing the practice for a month, and she reported feeling much more open and compassionate toward others. I recommend that you practice this simple meditation for several weeks, because it will immediately make you feel more loving and accepting toward yourself.
Meditation Classes Start Tuesday, Jan 17!
Location: Montana Om Yoga Studio, 51045 Hwy 93, Polson
Date Time: Tuesdays, 6:30-7:45pm
Cost: 5-Class Pass $50 / Single Class $12
We will be practicing the Lovingkindness Meditation in classes this year. Also, we can look forward to exploring Mantra as Meditation, and in the spring, Walking Meditations!
Here is a recording talking you through this Lovingkindness Meditation:
Happy, Healthy, and
Prosperous New Year