meditation: phrases of loving kindness

I have been (very slowly) reading Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg. Throughout my life I have embraced meditation. I have never practiced it regularly instead, I have turned to it in times of stress or anxiety or sleeplessness. I was first introduced to it as a teenager and practiced it before bed. I think incorporating meditation into my life will have a profound effect on my overall well-being. That is why I included it in my new years goals for 2010. At the end of each chapter in the book their are exercises to try. Here is the one I'm currently practicing.

Excerpt taken from the book Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg

Exercise: Phrases of Loving Kindness

In doing metta practice, we gently repeat phrases that are meaningful in terms of what we wish, first for ourselves and then for others. We begin by befriending ourselves. Classically there are four phrases used.
  • "May I be free from danger"
  • "May I have mental happiness"
  • "May I have physical happiness"
  • "May I have ease of well-being"
Sit comfortably. You can begin with five minutes of reflection on the good within you or your wish to be happy. Then choose three or four phrases you most deeply wish for yourself, and repeat them over and over again.
The author goes on to describe each of the four phrases meaning in detail, with some alternate options or you may choose your own 3 or 4 phrases that are significant to you. I choose to coordinate the phrase with my breath, it's easier for me to move from one idea to the next that way but you can do it anyway you like.

Let me know if you try this yourself and what you thought of the exercise :)

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