Loving Kindness

“Loving Kindness” These words are familiar to us in our daily language, but we rarely pause long enough to ponder what these words truly mean, what they offer us, and how they enrich our lives. While these words are familiar to us, we tend to associate these words with something other than what they mean in mindfulness. For example, love can mean many things in our language, like romantic love, or sentimental love, or simply something we say or feel for someone close to us. Kindness can be misunderstood as something weak or without boundaries.

In the Mindfulness practices, Loving-Kindness is strength-based and requires a great deal of inner stability, centeredness, awareness, courage, and strength. Love is a verb, an intention, an opening of the heart; or as Sharon Salzberg puts it, “Love is not a feeling, it’s an ability.” Kindness is also an opening of the heart. It is steeped in integrity, truth, wisdom, and respect for oneself and others. These practices are referred to as “The Heart Practices” and require vulnerability and courage. They are the foundation of wellness and well-being and the basis of self-care.

Loving Kindness begins with self. This is a practice of befriending oneself, offering ourselves goodwill and benevolence. The qualities of Loving Kindness include compassion, empathy, kindness, forgiveness, generosity, and gratitude. By integrating these qualities into our daily lives, we cultivate joy and happiness from within, and ultimately have more to share with the rest of the world.

The practice of Loving Kindness invites goodwill and friendliness toward self and others. As we set the intention and strengthen our practice, these qualities become actions. Once these actions become habits, a mindset emerges that creates happiness and joy in our own lives.

If having more love and kindness in your life sounds like something you want for yourself, contact me to learn more! lisa@fullymindful.com

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