Loving Awareness in the Present Moment Is Foundational to Our Resilience
As we learned in this interview with Tara Brach, when we bring loving kindness to all aspects of ourselves, we wake up and come back to our inner resources, our larger consciousness, our larger beingness. Here is an exercise from Resilience for expressing loving kindness even for our unlovable parts.
Expressing Loving Kindness Even for Unlovable Parts
About 2,600 years ago, the Buddha taught his followers the practice of loving kindness, metta, as a way to keep the mind and heart open to any of life’s experiences in any circumstances, including pain and suffering. This practice recognizes and honors the deep nobility and worthiness of every sentient being. We can learn to wish all beings well, including ourselves, no matter what our personal opinions may be about the other people, or ourselves at the moment.
The acceptance and honoring at the base of loving-kindness practice interrupts whatever automatic thoughts and opinions you may be having and refocuses your attention on keeping the mind and heart open to what is happening right now.
1. Find a few quiet moments in your day to pause and say these traditional phrases to yourself:
May I be safe from inner and outer harm.
May I be happy and deeply content.
May I be healthy and strong in body and mind.
May I live with the ease of well-being.
2. Repeat the phrases five to ten times; repeat the practice five times during the day for a full week or longer.
3. Notice any shifts in your energy, your mood, as you deepen the practice. You may not notice any immediate shifts from practicing the phrases per se; instead, you may notice that an incident that might previously have caused you to tip into shame or collapse now causes barely a blip on your radar. Notice whether this trend continues as you deepen the practice.
4. You can adapt this practice and phrases to offer loving kindness to parts of yourself as well. All are worthy and deserving of love and attention.
May my whiner find soothing and ease.
May my stubborn part feel acknowledged and relax.
May my inner critic feel appreciated for the job it’s trying to do.
May my smallifyer trust the growth of my capacities and strengths.
May my withdrawer feel safe and able to stay engaged.
May my procrastinator trust that the capacities are there to begin this project right now.
May my fantasizer rest in and enjoy this moment.
5. Modify the phrases over time as you need to in order to keep your mind and heart focused and open. Besides learning how to do this new conditioning, you are learning that you can.