There are only a few mental states that are as beneficial as loving kindness, compassion or deep inner calmness. The healing power of Kindness or “Metta” meditation can even extend beyond the reach of our own body and mind. By allowing the light of kindness to enter and expand in our being, we are actually creating a more fulfilling life on all levels. It helps the body to heal and restore balance and allows the mind to relax deeply on the path to inner peace. But these are just two of the benefits -- read on to find out about the third 🙂 In this weeks article I will share a few secret tips that help you to enjoy this beautiful Metta Meditation and feel it’s benefits -- in YOUR life.
Every emotional state has a powerful impact on the cellular structure of your body, our nervous system, our immune system, digestion, breath, heartbeat etc. This is well researched and documented -- and of course experienced by us every day. Take for example a panic attack -- notice how different areas contract, become tense and hurt. See how stress is affecting your breath and your digestion. You can clearly sense how healthy it is to be in love -- or to laugh. In short -- emotions definitely affect your health in many ways!
You understand that emotions have an impact on your health now. You know it and you’ve experienced it. Being anxious, worried and stressed out is detrimental to our overall health and well-being. Being happy, hopeful and kind is doing fantastic things to your body. There are many examples of this in your own life, and in the life of those who are close to you. This scientific article about the significance of altruism, happiness and health concludes, “that a strong correlation exists between the well-being, happiness, health, and longevity of people who are emotionally and behaviorally compassionate, so long as they are not overwhelmed by helping tasks.”
Now you understand that emotions affect your body. But how does “Metta” in particular benefit your physical state, and what is the healing power of kindness? The answer is quite simple actually: Metta heals by allowing the body to rest within a spacious state of loving awareness. I would illustrate that with a little child who runs into his mother’s arms after it fell. It seeks to find rest, safety and -- most importantly -- the unconditional and loving attention of his mother. This sort of warm, friendly awareness allows for the body to heal by itself. The tensions and constrictions of stress and fear cannot survive in such a peaceful space.
The body generates most illness as a response to emotional and physical tension which is habitually and, often unconsciously, held. Allowing the body to rest within a warm and friendly space of Kindness helps greatly to reduce such tension and creates a habit of release. Deep release (Soong) is also the foundation of authentic Taiji Chuan practice. Basically the body starts to unfold its healing powers once you leave it alone (that’s also why your body restores and heals in deep sleep). In this case it simply means that we are letting go of stress in the form of physical tension.
When we had a rough day at work and many problems are unfolding we often seek out the presence of our best friend. Why is that? My idea is that our best friends receive us without judging us. They have an open heart for us and our problems, are often the best listeners and share their kindness with you. Good friends help you get back on your feet and provide you with warmth and goodness in may ways. When around them, you don’t have to pretend. You can be who you are and your best friend loves you anyways. That’s why they are our best friends!
Have you noticed how we often tend to talk with ourselves though? What’s your attitude towards yourself? Are you “managing”, “controlling” or “improving”? Is your inner voice often criticizing, fault-finding and fearful about what others might think of you? Are you pushing yourself hard to become someone else, to look differently, to change your mind? Can you really relax within your own presence -- or are you unable to give yourself a break? What if you sit down silently… How long can you be with yourself in a wakeful and relaxed state before you feel giddy and nervous and seek out distractions? Go and try it if you haven’t: How long can you sit and do nothing while feeling perfectly relaxed in your own company?
Kindness helps healing your mind by leaving your mind alone. Not following it, not distracting yourself away from it, not pushing it around… and not going to sleep! The healing power comes through seeing the mind as “just the mind”. The mind is not my business for a little while since here I don’t have to manage, destroy or heal it. I simply leave it alone. I let it breathe for a few minutes. Oh, your mind will start loving you for this -- trust me 😉
Kindness affects the mind by dissolving the prison of “doing” and “controlling” -- which is an aspect of doing. Basically the notion “I have got to control, manage or improve my mind” comes out of fear. I am talking about the fear of spaciousness, the fear of being enough and the fear of being unloved. It’s fear that doesn’t allow us to let go of control. Most people are fearful of surrender to presence, peace and bliss. We want to own, govern, manage and control everything. The art of allowing without following or fighting is like a foreign language to most of us.
“If you love someone, set them free!” -- check out Sting’s great song 😉 Once you set your mind free, it can essentially liberate itself by dissolving into your open space. If you are constantly oppressing the mind with your demands -- it soon turns into a rebel. Remember that those who are most dear to us are those who accept and love us without any conditions. So set your mind free. This doesn’t mean that you should run after every thought, get lost in fantasies and imagine future or past situations. It means to allow all of these things to go while not holding on to anything at all.
Train yourself to access an open, kind space of awareness often and allow body and mind to melt into it. Make it your practice and cultivate such an attitude. Always make sure that kindness is practicing meditation for you -- and not the inner tyrant. You will quickly notice a significant change in your life. The third benefit of this practice is that your kind and open heart turns your presence into a blessing for other beings. Your inner softness and warmth will transform problems into the path and help people to feel understood and accepted. Whatever you do to benefit yourself and others will succeed if it is carried by an honest energy such as Metta.
Practice this technique often and see how the magic works for yourself. And also have a look at the video below to get some more information on the same subject. Don’t watch if you are easily offended by awesome halos though 😉
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