Mind Your Body

Mens sana in corporé sano 

Meditations

Befriending Meditation

This is a befriending meditation. So in this sitting you are cultivating a sense of kindness and friendship towards yourself and others. Acknowledging that no matter how we may appear on the outside all of us can feel fearful, sad or lonely on the inside. So deliberately taking this time to wish yourself well and then extending this kindness to others.

So taking a few moments now to become settled. Reconnecting with a posture that for you embodies a sense of dignity and wakefulness. If you are sitting checking in with yourself so that your spine is straight, the shoulders relaxed and the head balanced.

And coming to focus on the breath…

And then expanding attention to the whole body…

And when you are ready bringing friendship and kindness to yourself, by silently saying to yourself,

May I be safe and free from suffering
May I be as happy and healthy as it is possible for me to be
May I have ease of being

Taking your time. Imagining that wach phrase is like a pebble dropped down a deep well. Dropping each one in turn and listening for any responses, thoughts, feelings, body sensations. There is no need to judge what arises, this is for you.

May I be safe and free from suffering
May I be as happy and healthy
May I have ease of being

If you find it difficult to bring any sense of friendship towards yourself. Bringing to mind a person or even a pet who loves you or loved you unconditionally. Once you have a clear sense of their love for you see if you can return to offering this same love to yourself.

May I be safe, happy and healthy, ease of being

Now at a certain point bringing to mind a loved one and wishing him or her well in the same way.

May they be safe and free from suffering
May they be as happy and healthy as it is possible to be
May they have ease of being

Once again seeing what arises as you hold this person in mind and heart, wishing them well. Allowing responses to come, taking your time.

Repeating any or all of the phrases and then listening, breathing,

And now choosing a stranger, this may be someone you see regularly, perhaps in the street, on the bus or in the coffee shop, someone you recognise but may not know the name of, someone you feel neutral about. Although you don’t know them, they probably also have a life full of hopes and fears as you have. They too wish to be happy as you do. So keeping them in the heart and mind, repeating the phrases, and wishing htem well.

May they be safe and free from suffering
May they be as happy and healthy
May they have ease of being

Now if you choose to extend this meditation further you might wish to bring to mind someone whom you find difficult, this doesn’t have to be the most difficult person on you life. It may be someone you feel a bit distant from. Perhaps a person at work or in the family whom you are finding rather difficult at the moment. Whomever you choos, now intentionally allowing him or her to bei in youe heart and mind as best you can. Acknowledging that they too may wish or have wished to be happy.

May they be safe and free from suffering
May they be as happy and healthy
May they have ease of being

Pausing, listening, noticing sensations in the body. Seeing if it is possible to explore these feelings without censoring them or judging yourself. And don’t worry if there are no feelings of warmth or friendship. It is enough to hold the intention to incline the mind in this way. And remembering if at any time you feel overwhelmed or drawn away by intense feelings or thoughts you can always come back to the breath and the body to anchor yourself in the present moment. Treating yourself with kindness.

Finally extending loving kindness to all beings. Including your loved ones and strangers and those whom you find difficult. The intention here is to extend love and friendship to all living beings on the planet and remembering that all living beings includes you.

May all be safe and free from suffering
May all be as happy and healthy
May all of us have ease of being

And as you sit here acknowledging the courage it takes to nourish yourself in this way. Bringing a sense of kindness and friendship to others and to yourself. And now coming to the breath and the body. Resting in clear awareness of the present moment. Allowing yourself to be just as you are. Complete and whole.