“Why do we meditate? We meditate precisely because this world of ours has disappointed us and because failure looms large in our day-to-day life. We want fulfilment. We want joy, peace, bliss and perfection within and without. Meditation is the answer, the only answer.”- Sri Chinmoy
My friend is asking for the lovingkindness meditation, what the Buddha called his antidote to fear: May I be safe, may I be happy, may I be healthy, may I live with ease.
I first read about the lovingkindness meditation in Learning To Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life by Priscilla Warner. My own meditation practice had been less than regular when the Twitter Yoga Book Club chose this as their new selection. The lovingkindness meditation was just what I needed to jump-start not only my personal meditation time, but it was also a safe, non-threatening way to introduce meditation to many of my yoga students.
In Learning to Breathe, Warner spends a year studying meditation, guided imagery, chakra therapy and other alternative therapies in an attempt to overcome a lifetime of anxiety and panic attacks. Along the way she meets with therapists, scientists, Rabbis and teachers. And she meditates. She meditates on the beach, in her home and even on the train. In fact, when I recently spoke with Ms. Warner she said she can now get quiet enough to meditate in the middle of Grand Central Station.
How is it possible to become so quiet in the midst of chaos? In Learning to Breathe, Warner suggests seven steps:
Start off slowly. Warner finds 20 minutes a day to be manageable and realistic in her life. Personally, I shoot for 10 minutes per day. During a recent #YOBC discussion, we were sharing meditation tips and Kate Bartolotta (@kate_bartolotta) tweeted that she meditates for thirty minutes each morning and evening. But, she adds “2 minutes is great! 10 min is great! When life gets in the way – even 10 breaths is great.” Certified Master Coach Wanda Marie agrees. She says five minutes alone with your Spirit is like five hours alone with your Spirit. Even a little bit of meditation goes a long way!