I remember the first time I was introduced to Loving Kindness; it happened during a five day silent retreat. This was over fifteen years ago. I remember my own judgment and the feelings of discomfort that came with extending kindness towards myself and then extending it to people that I didn’t even like. It felt strange, like I was superimposing or forcing a feeling. It wasn’t authentic.
Fast forward 15 years later. Loving kindness has become an integral part of my daily life, a practice I routinely call upon when emotions are feeling too much or when my heart hurts for another person. Loving Kindness has become one of my favourite tools to teach others. It is in truth my super power.
Loving-Kindness meditation focuses on developing feelings of goodwill, kindness and warmth towards others as well as ourselves (Salzberg, 1997). Research shows that Loving-Kindness meditation has a tremendous amount of benefit ranging from enhancing personal well-being to improving illness and even sharpening emotional intelligence.
Repeating the Loving Kindness meditation helps us to relax while we might be in our darker thoughts and not so positive side. Practicing Loving Kindness does not mean feeling happy and love to the exclusion of other emotions. Rather, it means using Loving Kindness as a framework to all that rises and falls in the present moment, much of which is often all but loving.
- “May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.”
- “May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.”
One doesn’t need to feel Loving Kindness when reciting the words. In fact, saying it may trigger the opposite feelings, like it initially did for me. The more I practiced Loving Kindness and let it guide my experience, the more authentic it became.
Using Loving Kindness can help ease the raw emotions that come with infertility. It is a practice that can be used in the moment, or a feeling that can be cultivated in your spare time.
Amira Posner is a fertility counsellor in Toronto, Ontario. She works with individuals and couples who are struggling with infertility. Amira facilitates the Mind-Body Fertility Group at Mt.Sinai Hospital. She is also the mother to three little miracles.