The path to a thriving life is interdependent on our relationships with others. Finding ways to intentionally generate feelings of love to those around us is a “mental hygiene” technique we can practice to live into this value that we likely all internally embrace, but can struggle living into in our daily lives. Below is an approachable practice that can be used to help us embody the virtues of love and goodness towards others.
- Close your eyes and position yourself in an upright, comfortable posture, bringing awareness to your body and being fully present in the moment.
- Begin by focusing on your motives for the practice and see if you can come to a place of altruism and goodwill towards others, recognizing that calming your body and opening your heart is not only for your benefit, but for the benefit of everyone you touch, whether directly or indirectly.
- Next, bring into your heart and mind a person close to you—someone you know and love. Imagine a difficulty this person may be experiencing in their lives.
- Bringing attention to your breath, on each breath in, imagine you are removing that difficulty. On each breath out, imagine you are sending love to that person. With each breath cycle, imagine their difficulties beginning to recede and your love and wishes for them to be free of suffering being extended towards them.
Putting this practice in the context of the Christian faith, we can liken it to the ancient practice and tradition of intercessory prayer. This practice offers us the added dimension of incorporating the intention of posturing ourselves in a loving way towards the person we are bringing before God, for whom we are asking for healing and the removal of their suffering. It seems simple, but can truly bolster the transformative nature of our prayer practices as we take an active, physical role envisioning the removal of their suffering and their reception of our love and prayers.
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