“There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness”. Dalai Lama
You can’t have failed to notice it’s Valentines. The shops have been full of heart shaped chocolate boxes, novelty gifts and overpriced roses for weeks.
How do you feel about today? Do you practically wrestle the mailman to the ground in an attempt to extort any envelopes which may contain cards declaring undying devotion? Maybe you automatically hold your breath each time you hear a car outside (it could be a flower delivery)?
It can be a fun day for couples who totally embrace the romance and celebrate whole heartedly but if you have wildly different ideas than your partner, the day inevitably ends with one, or both parties sulking in a corner. When people can’t communicate honestly regarding their assumption as to what the day will hold is it any wonder their needs aren’t met?
If you have unrealistic expectations for Valentines and equate gifts and cards with validation that you are indeed loveable, then maybe you are lacking self love and no amount of cute bears holding hearts is going to fix that. It’s inevitable that you will end the day feeling let down and disappointed.
Loving kindness is a meditation practice that helps you develop altruistic love. By practicing regularly you can free your mind from old, negative, self-limiting thought patterns which govern your emotional state and cultivate compassion both towards yourself, and your fellow man.
Buddha once said "Hatred cannot coexist with loving-kindness, and dissipates if supplanted with thoughts based on loving-kindness.”
Studies have shown that being compassionate towards others may be one of the best ways to improve health and well-being, increase positive social connectivity and lower blood pressure. Best of all loving kindness can be practiced anywhere from coffee shops to traffic jams.
Beginning a practice of loving kindness can initially feel uncomfortable. It can feel unnatural to offer ourselves love which is precisely why we should and what better day than today to being a journey a self-love?
You can find audio for our Loving Kindness meditation here.