This morning I revisited a practice I used to do daily. I can’t give a clear reason for why I stopped, but I got out of my routine and sooner or later, abandoned the practice – too bad, it was valuable and clearly, given my experience this morning, worth renewing.
The practice is simply the Loving Kindness Meditation. I perform it while walking. This morning was blessed with glorious weather, bright sunshine, and a slight breeze – a perfect time for a walking meditation. The Loving Kindness Mediation has four phrases or affirmations which can be used in a variety of ways. There are several versions of these phrases, but the ones I use are:
- I am Safe
- I am Happy
- I am Healthy
- I live at Ease
When I repeat these as a walking meditation, I do so using the cadence of my step to keep me breathing slowly and steadily, and to focus on the phrases in the order I’ve listed them here. Given that I was intentionally taking a 20-minute walk, I was able to concentrate on each of the affirmations for about five minutes.
Here’s how I focus my attention when I do this walking meditation. . .
I am Safe. . . and then, I list the many ways in which I experience safety in my life – easily a dozen or twenty ways come to mind. Some of them include:
- I am Safe in my neighborhood
- I am Safe in my marriage & relationships
- I am Safe in my home
- I am Safe in my automobile
- I am Safe in my work-life
I realize even as I write them here, how very privileged I am to be able to say each of these affirmations and mean them – my life is amazingly safe, secure and anxiety free as a result.
I am Happy. . .again, how many reasons can I list for my current happiness? A few that came to mind this morning included:
- I am Happy with my friendships
- I am Happy with my progress to build an office in my house
- I am Happy with my study plan for the upcoming board exam
You get the gist, I have much to be happy about and I am one who believes that happiness is largely an inside job – we choose to be happy by seeing our circumstances as full of possibilities we can work with and improve, rather than seeing ourselves as the victims of circumstances.
I am Healthy. . .when I get to this phrase, I have a lot to list, some of my morning’s iterations were:
- I am Healthy because I sleep soundly and solidly
- I am Healthy because I choose healthy foods
- I am Healthy because I have fresh water to keep me hydrated
- I am Healthy because I embrace exercise and movement (which isn’t always true, but I need to hear myself say it and begin to make it my truth!)
I live at Ease. . .this phrase and the affirmations that followed it this morning really caught my attention. I do live at ease. I have so many reasons to be grateful for the ease (peacefulness, calm, tranquility) in which I live my life. This made me realize, especially in this summer of turmoil, how very privileged and blessed I am in life.
Next time you’re out for a walk, consider turning it into a walking meditation. Employ the four simple affirmations of the Loving Kindness Meditation and see how just a 20-minute stroll can change your outlook on life. If you’re on a longer walk, you can extend the meditation to include other people, using each phrase as a blessing of sort.
Allow a person you care about to float into your mind. Simply change the pronoun to match the person you have in mind and repeat:
- May he/she/they be Safe
- May he/she/they be Happy
- May he/she/they be Healthy
- May he/she/they live at Ease
You can go through this cycle for any number of people who come to mind and, if you’re feeling particularly courageous, you can invite thoughts of people who are particularly difficult in your life. Taking the time to “bless” those who are not necessarily part of your close-knit tribe can be a life-changing experience; I urge you to give it a try!