I’ve been trying to pick up my meditation practice lately, and decided to revisit arguably one of the most popular meditations: The Loving-Kindness Meditation.
You’ve probably heard of this meditation. Maybe you’ve tried it out for yourself. Perhaps it’s a routine part of your practice.
If you aren’t familiar with the practice of loving-kindness meditation, it goes something like this:
Throughout the meditation, you picture 4 people: yourself, someone you love, someone neutral (such as someone who works at your bank), and someone that you are experiencing conflict with. Starting with yourself, and ending with the person with whom you are experiencing conflict, you focus on sending well-being, happiness, and love to each recipient.
I’ve done it in the past, and honestly didn’t really have much of a reaction to it at all. This time was a little different.
Sent all the good stuff to myself. Easy enough. Next up was someone I love. I pictured a dear friend easily. Then on to a neutral person; I picked someone who works at the grocery store I go to. I kind of felt…nothing.
On to the person I have “conflict” with.
I experienced some of the strongest emotion I have ever felt. Now, I should explain that I am an EXPERT at shoving my anger down as deep as I can. I should also explain that I picked the person I feel the most contempt for IN THE WORLD. The person who makes my blood absolutely boil.
Soooooo back to the meditation. Intense feelings came up. Surprisingly, not just anger. Not even just rage. Some super-strong emotion I can’t even quite put words to. Tears came immediately. I was so angry but also finally allowed myself to feel so, so sad. It was extremely uncomfortable.
Maybe starting off with someone that I hold SUCH INTENSE negative feelings for was a bad idea. One might think that this experience would turn me off from the whole idea. I actually had quite the opposite reaction. It became something of a personal challenge for me. I became focused on eventually being able to send this person loving-kindness without having a strong negative reaction.
I don’t know if it’s something I will ever accomplish. I continue to try. It’s not really getting any easier. But, I figure the fact that I keep trying is an accomplishment in and of itself.