Water Lilly

Loving Kindness Meditation Course Description

The Loving Kindness meditation is introduced gradually over the five weeks, so the course is suitable for those new to meditation as well as those who have more experience. During the course, participants are asked to commit to practising meditation at home: for 10 minutes, 3 times a week in the first week; 15 minutes the second week, 20 minutes the third week and so on to 30 minutes in the last week. Engaging with the practice in this way will allow you to get the maximum benefit from the course. There will be ample time each week to discuss your experience of the meditation and to ask questions. Participants will also be asked to engage in some informal practices, e.g. a gratitude diary, each week. Sessions will consist of led meditations, led reflections and exercises and discussion. The atmosphere of the group is warm, friendly and supportive.

 

Course Time, Cost and Booking Information

  • There are currently no events scheduled for the Loving Kindness Course. Please check again at a later date or call our office to see if we have information on future dates.
 

What Is Loving Kindness?

While we all have the capacity to live from our hearts and to be a loving presence in the world, this capacity is often undermined by the creation of barriers we put up to protect ourselves from being hurt. Often, we erect these barriers against ourselves, and find that we struggle to love and be kind to ourselves. Busyness, too, distracts us from greater openness and connection to ourselves and with other people. The Loving Kindness meditation practice develops the ability to connect to your heart, by bringing a gentle, kindly awareness to your emotional responses to yourself and others. Restoring that connection to your heart allows a gentle appreciation and love for yourself to flower, and from that greater appreciation of yourself, an increasing generosity and compassion towards other people.

Your task is not to seek for love but to find within yourself all the barriers you have built against it - Rumi

Kindness And Compassion

Kindness and compassion are the gently supportive qualities that let us simply be ourselves, without judgement or criticism or striving to be different. Bringing a mindful awareness to our experience in the moment, emotional as well as physical and mental, develops a kindly approach to ourselves as we simply let ourselves be, letting go of any desire for anything to be different. If there is difficulty in our experience, we respond with empathy and compassion; if there is ease, we respond with openness and contentment. Over time we develop the ability to see ourselves more clearly and to respond, with care, to our needs. In Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn quotes a study in which regular meditators and non-meditators were shown a film of an industrial accident that contained some distressing scenes. When both groups were questioned afterwards, the meditators demonstrated a greater degree of compassion for the victims of the accident, and they also recovered their equanimity more quickly than the non-meditators. So nourishing ourselves in this way gives us the resources to respond more effectively to others without feeling drained or overwhelmed.

 

Fear And Anger

Fear of the unfamiliar, fear of rejection, fear of being hurt, fear of being taken advantage of – all of these fears and more hold us back from open-heartedness. Anger, too, can be corrosive, leading to suffering for ourselves and others and to fractured relationships. These difficult emotions are, nonetheless, just emotions, that are experienced by all of us. But they can be a challenge to work with. The Buddha gave his followers the Loving Kindness meditation practice as an antidote to fear. With less fear, they could meditate more effectively and be more contented and peaceful. In the practice, reflecting on what we share with other human beings reduces the fear of difference, and reduces anger by retaining that sense of connection with others, even where there also differences. Sometimes we fear that reducing, or letting go of anger will leave us vulnerable and unprotected, but experience shows that the Loving Kindness practice actually develops greater emotional resilience.

 

Gratitude And Generosity

While the main focus of this course is on the Loving Kindness meditation practice, course participants will also be asked to engage in everyday exercises designed to develop positive qualities such as gratitude and generosity. We often have a tendency to focus on what we lack, what we don’t have, whereas these two qualities place our focus on abundance rather than deprivation, on what we already have rather than what we lack. Shifting focus in this way benefits our well-being and gives us greater insight into what really matters to us. The exercises are also designed to bring attention to the everyday, small things in life that we often ignore or overlook.

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