Mindfulness practice: connecting with love

Kerome

Kerome

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#1
Love is such a sought-after feeling that entire industries are built around it. Love is a TV genre, a movie genre, a book genre. Magazines obsess over and feed the ideal of romantic love. And yet so much of what passes for love leads to disappointment and pain. It’s these two sides of love—the joy of connection and the pain that comes from attaching and clinging—that meditation works with.

When we fall for someone or something (face it, human beings are so easily lovestruck we can fall for a car, a cell phone, or a brand of body wash), we feel pulled in the direction of the love object. When it’s a person, we feel a little lightness in our head, and warmth in various parts of our body. We can literally become weak in the knees. We are pulled out of ourselves and want to connect, so we flirt or touch or dance; or more.

The connecting part seems so natural. We form bonds with all sorts of people with degrees of connection varying from the mildly warm to the wildly passionate. But sometimes the power of the passion can be so great that we don’t just want to play and interact with the object of our love. We want to possess it, and own it. We grasp and cling, and we become uncomfortable—in the worst case scary. We are stalking prey. When the game of love is played for keeps, it can take everyone involved into some unpleasant emotional territory.

Practice: Awareness of Feelings

The main meditative practice for love—as with anger—is to shine the light of awareness on your thoughts and feelings, so you can discern the differences between openness and clinging. Keep noticing, without judging, what’s happening in your mind and body.

Practice: Wishing Everyone Well

Another beneficial practice is to broaden our love and caring to encompass more people. This kind of “Universal Love” is beneficial to our own well-being and to those around us. It can also reduce clinging in all kinds of relationships—from the love for a child, sibling, or parent to the passionate love for a sexual partner—because it takes the focus off of me…me…me.

Visualize others and repeat phrases of well-wishing. You can start with yourself (be kind to yourself), then think of a loved one, then someone neutral, then someone difficult, then, if you like, the whole world. Repeat the phrases a few times with each type of person.

May (I/they) be unharmed.
May (I/they) be happy.
May (I/they) be healthy.
May (I/they) be at ease.

This is one of several articles there about mindfulness and connecting with emotion. They're worth reading, there's ones on anger and other things.

http://www.mindful.org/mindfulness-practice-connecting-with-love/
 
Kerome

Kerome

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#2
I've actually been wondering how you might combine mindfulness with love... Looking at young children playing while practicing mindfulness of the emotions maybe, or having mindful sex with a partner you love? Mindful kissing? Maybe any intimate, loving situation could be made into a mindfulness exercise about love.
 
Parayana

Parayana

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#3
Thanks Kerome. Its another mindfulness practice that has its roots in Buddhism in this case the Theravda metta bhavana. I practice the metta bhvana several times a day for around thirty five minutes at a time. Its a good meditation to cut through the emotional numbness caused by antipsychotics.
 
Y

yishay

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#4
A good meditation for the development of compassion would be Tonglen a visualization of taking on other peoples pain and suffering and sending them happiness and love back will help develop compassion but always starting this practice with ones self and extending it to all relatives friends teachers strangers and yes your enemy they can be your greatest teahers and help you develop even further ect... :)
 
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Parayana

Parayana

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#5
Yishay, I have some familiarity with Tonglen and its a very powerful meditation.
 
Kerome

Kerome

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#6
May you be well. May you be happy.

 
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