Love Meditation also known as 'loving-kindness meditation' is a core practice for self-care that supports psychological healing and wellness. Many ancient wisdom traditions teach that love is a kind of unifying, healing power both within community and inside our own minds, so much so that in many texts, love is raised to divine status, as a supreme quality of the universe. Whether or not you are religious, spiritual or believe that love is the basic quality of life itself, love meditation is still a useful self-healing tool. In my experience, it returns me to a kind of centred, stable and balanced state of mind, and even makes my body feel good. There's been a tonne of research suggesting that meditation is beneficial for heaps of mental and physical issues, and perhaps this is because it does align us with something deeply healing and life-giving within us - who knows! Love meditation is one form of meditation that has been researched more than many other forms, and it's quite clear; it seems to do the job of helping to heal our minds.
I think you'll find it a soothing and calming practice to do right away. You simply recite the lines of the meditation (think of them as poetry, with space between each line to let the words rest, resound and settle in your being) internally. You could recite them out loud if you prefer. Do this as many times as you wish, and give yourself pauses, to let the words soak in. Whatever else comes into your mind just let go, then come back to these words. Give this practise a go for 2 to 5 minutes. You can practise for longer as your concentration grows. Here it is, love meditation, in its most simple form:
May I be well.
May I be happy.
May I be free from suffering.
There you are. Enjoy. Apparently love meditation comes from Buddhist teachings (where it's also known as 'metta' translating as 'friendliness' meditation), however you don't ever have to be a Buddhist to practise it. You can also change the pronoun to 'may we, they, she or he..." if you would also like to improve how you think and feel about others. If you find it is hard to start with yourself, you can practise for a pet or a loved one, or even just a mental image of a baby bunny rabbit or something that seems cute to you. I know it might seem a bit bizarre but it really does seem to help a lot of people, so don't judge yourself for experimenting with a new technique. Have a sense of humour. You want to stop suffering, right? Well if you're genuinely ready to stop suffering then try this. Keep practising until you feel warmth in your heart, and remarkably that energy, you may find, has immense power to heal you and lift your life up to being something rather lovely, sweet and calm.
Lots of meditation teachers offer their own versions of love meditation, with different words, but always about wishing happiness, well-being and peace of mind in the present moment. You can think of meditation as an opportunity to simply dial a few codes, and tap into inner reserves of the qualities that you'd like to bring to your present moment experience of life. Many times, our mind may be racing to the future, regurgitating the past, lost and confused, or raw, painful and running on an automatic doom loop. Meditation gives you an opportunity to care for your mind, not in a way of trying to force it or control it in a particular way, but just to nourish, guide and protect it. Simply create a little container of time (use a timer), set some boundaries for yourself to practice formally, and see how you like it.
You can also keep it going informally in daily life as much as seems practical for you, to keep your mind fresh and loved up. For example, in a moment of stress, pop your hand on your heart, take some gentle breaths, and slowly feed yourself those simple, little words. You may find it is preferable to other less wholesome ways of coping, familiar to you.
So in conclusion - yes - it's fine to love yourself; love meditation is deeply healing and may help not only you, but everyone around you, please give it a go!
Any questions? Get in touch.
If you liked this article then you may wish to go deeper into Love Meditation and other mindfulness practices through the Be Calm, Be Happy online course. I'm teaching a few dates starting soon. Here's a link to find out more: https://bit.ly/calmhappy
Further info and meditation resources
Meditation research from Oxford https://www.oxfordmindfulness.org/learn-mindfulness/
Mindfulness and Meditation research from Harvard https://www.harvard.edu/in-focus/mindfulness-meditation/
Loving Kindness Meditation and Positive Psychology https://positivepsychology.com/loving-kindness-meditation/#meditation
Thich Nhat Hanh's Love Meditation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5luvQp--B8U