Lovingkindness and Compassion as a Path to Awakening
February 10, 2008
[00:00, guided meditation begins]
Taking a moment or two to really establish yourself in your meditation posture. Settling into the uprightness of that posture. The openness, the presence. Also softening in the body, softening into the body, into the presence in the body. Just sitting with that light, open sensitivity to the whole body. Just the whole general feeling of the whole body, the energy field of the whole body, sensitive to the whole body. Just present there. That open and spacious awareness.
Just noticing, perhaps in this moment something stands out. Something is prominent in your experience. Perhaps some sensations in the body, some sensations somewhere in the body. Perhaps an emotion. Perhaps a feeling or a mind state. Just noticing. Maybe something is prominent, maybe not. If nothing is particularly prominent, then just being in the body, the whole body, with whatever is in consciousness in this moment.
Then with whatever may be prominent, or whatever is just present in consciousness right now, beginning very gently to bathe that experience in kindness, in compassion. So directing the stream of loving-kindness and compassion towards that experience itself, whatever the prominent experience right now, or whatever any experience in consciousness right now, just bathing it with kindness, with tenderness. Holding the experience in compassion, in kindness, allowing it to be held in kindness and compassion. Just over and over, whatever is standing out, whatever is prominent in the experience. Washing it, bathing it, holding it, in love and compassion.
[6:04] You may find different ways of doing this work at different times. Bathing the experience, directing the stream of love and compassion and kindness towards experience. Holding the experience in compassion, kindness. Can also be a total welcoming, a complete, utter, total welcoming of the experience, whatever the experience is. As if you're opening the doors of awareness very wide, very spacious, to welcome. Complete, radical acceptance of the experience, whatever it is. Or you may find the phrases or a word from one of the phrases helpful to direct the kindness, to direct the compassion, towards an experience.
So you're open with experience as it's present, but very much directing or holding it in kindness, in tenderness, total acceptance, compassion. Welcoming, welcoming.
Just over and over, whatever it is that's there, whatever is going on in the experience, directing the stream of kindness, of compassion, towards it. Holding it, surrounding it, permeating it with love and compassion. Completely welcoming, totally welcoming the experience. Being open, but letting go -- for now, for now -- of the usual precision of mindfulness. "Want to notice what's going on very clearly" -- just letting that go, and instead being open, being with what's going on, but very much emphasizing kindness, emphasizing compassion, emphasizing total acceptance. Letting go of the usual emphasis on precision.
Whatever you're conscious of in the moment -- let's say body sensation, emotion, feeling, a mind state, a persistent thought, whatever it is, gross or subtle -- bathing it in tenderness, holding it in compassion. If, as you're doing this, sometimes the edges of an experience of phenomena begin to blur, begin to dissolve or lose definition, if an experience begins to fade, that's completely okay. Completely okay.
[17:59] Over and over and over, bathing experience, bathing whatever's there, in kindness. Welcoming it totally in kindness. Whatever arises, its arising is held in kindness. Its staying is held, is bathed, in kindness. Its passing is held and bathed in kindness.
Whatever it is that comes up, if there's resistance or numbness, holding that in kindness. Total, complete welcoming. If there's no feeling, if there's boredom, anger, fear, confusion, whatever it is in this moment, bathing it in love, totally welcoming it, over and over. Nothing is exempt. Nothing is out of the range. Whatever is there, whatever is going on in the body, whatever is going on in the mind.
If there's restlessness or agitation, if there is peace, a feeling of peace, a feeling of happiness, including that. Bathing, holding those phenomena, the experiences, those feelings, in kindness and tenderness. Opening the door of awareness, opening the door of consciousness for that, welcoming completely.
Sometimes, as we're practising, an image or a sense of ourselves in the moment, an image of ourselves sitting here, comes up. Bathing that experience in kindness.
So including everything, whatever is in consciousness in the moment. Bathing it, holding it, touching it with that stream of kindness, with that ocean of kindness. Including everything. You can even include the kindness itself. You can include the intention of kindness, the intention towards kindness. Gross or subtle, whatever is in consciousness in the moment.
Complete welcoming, over and over.
Does anything exist independent of our relationship to it?
[38:07, guided meditation ends]