14 Dec 2020

By Vari McLuskie

Awakening our Heart

Begin your day with Love. Read about the practice of Love Meditation and join us every Tuesday and Thursday morning for a gentle practice offered by UK Dharma Teacher, Vari McLuskie.

May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit

So begins our loving kindness practice. This is a phrase we can hold gently on our breath letting it soak into our body and mind. As usual we can notice our reactions – maybe restlessness, rejection of the words, fearfulness or more. Gently time and again  we can return to our loving intention towards ourselves.

Thay tells us that:

“The whole cosmos has come together to create you. You carry the whole cosmos inside you. That is why, to accept yourself and to love yourself is an expression of gratitude.”

But along the way we may have internalised difficult ideas about ourselves. And these stories can “come out to play” when we sit with this phrase. Being lovingly present helps us to see these stories and ideas for what they are – just stories, just ideas. We can embrace our mistaken views and allow lightness and peace to emerge.

“discovering the aspiration in the second half of Thay’s practice has been so powerful in enabling me to go deeper and be much gentler with myself, more accepting, less judgemental.” – C.C.

May I be free from Anger, Despair, Fear and Anxiety

At this current time of uncertainty and change there are many ways that the seeds of fear, despair and anger can be watered in us.

I’m aware that when I spend time reading political comment that I may feel all these three emotions. And I can also continue to water these emotions as I create my own internal commentary. Often I notice tightness in my lower abdomen and shoulders. My breathing is more shallow….Then I bring to mind my intention to be fearless and peaceful and this helps me to come back to the present moment and to offer myself loving kindness in these moments of danger.

image by: Sharon Leighton, True Flower of Faith

Loving Ourselves

Offering love to ourselves is difficult for many. This approach to life may not have been an important part of our experience growing up. But we all have that seed of self compassion and self kindness in us. Practicing with the love meditation can help us nourish these seeds.

 “I find myself with a gentler, warmer backdrop to daily life when I have practised the Loving Kindness meditation. When pressures, irritations, frustration, stresses and strains inevitably arise, it is easier to bring myself back. Open my heart to whatever is. I think it has helped me to connect with more courage. Perhaps have more tolerance of people and things (and myself!). If I can connect with that open warm place in my heart, and I can relax and notice what I am feeling, even a little, then life goes better even when things are difficult- I know this to be true. C.

Loving Others

Love meditation can work on a deep level. During practice I can recognise my hard edged mental activities (thoughts, prejudices, perceptions and ideas) and sink into a softer, kinder, open space within myself. And this helps with relationships. When I am struggling in a relationship coming to the soft, caring place in my heart and releasing my sense of mental effort offers space to really hear the other and myself – free from ideas of right and wrong.

This practice inspires me to listen deeply, and to practice with loving awareness to all beings (animal, bird, insect, plant, mineral, human) universally in the cosmos. To aim to hear the words people say, and what is behind these words. With kindness, unconditional friendliness and to question if I’ve got things correct” – G.

Loving the Earth

When I go for a walk, I have a love affair with what a meet in nature. I feel calm and joyful to see the beautiful textures and colours in the tree bark; the daily diversity of the colours in the leaves, and the joy of hearing the leaves rustle in the wind. The practice reinforces gratitude to my body for its ability to walk, and to the parts of me that pain or don’t ache. Limitless joy and friendliness to the animals that cross my path, a warmth in my heart at the different way’s dogs greet or bound along. And light to the joy or sorrow in the eyes of the people that I meet.” – G.

Benefits of Practice

“There is no greater benefit virtue than practicing love meditation every day”  – Buddha

When we practice love meditation regularly we can experience more joy and freshness. We cause less suffering to those around us and we can offer our calmness and happiness instead.

Read what practitioners say about our morning Beginning the day with Love practice and join every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30am for a gentle online love meditations to start your day with freshness and warmth.

Webinar link to access the practice: http://tiny.cc/PVUKMorningMeditation

image by: Sharon Leighton, True Flower of Faith

Practising at a regular time first thing in the morning is a wonderful way to bring Loving Kindness to the forefront of my mind and my day. It helps to infuse the next 24 hours with love.” – J.

Practising with other people at this time has been very supportive. Although I cannot see everyone I know they are there and I am not alone. It feels very powerful, especially to ask for loving kindness to be offered in the direction of people I have concerns, worries, fears for.” – C.D.

The benefits found by practicing loving kindness meditation with a group bring a deeper, steady, gentler feeling to practice. This supports me to be kinder in all aspects of my day, in speech, activities, voice tone, thoughts, and later in the day when I sleep it is much more restful. – G.

A time for true connection which then ripples into my everyday life. ” – A.M.

It helps my own heart to be open at a time when there is so much separation and we have needed to get through these difficult times, helping others as well as ourselves to manage. The knowledge that friends are with me in time and space and we are all focussing on the love in our own hearts and our sharing it in our worlds is wonderful. I go off into the day with a positive living mind set and know that so much more is possible for all of us, wherever we are, whatever the night has brought us or the day will bring us. – C. D.