Arriving Home :: Meeting Our Difficulties With A Heart of Love
Meeting Our Difficulties With A Heart of Love
Meditation is so much more than what it may seem. There are countless times throughout my weeks teaching live classes in LA when I mention this and heads turn sideways, eyebrows raise.
The media often portrays meditation as someone sitting cross-legged with a smile on their face in a beautiful setting somewhere tranquil and far away. Let me pause here to say that I fully celebrate this side of meditation too. In fact, I cherish it. When we start to notice the calming effects it has in our lives, or that we feel more centered after meditating, or we observe that we are smiling more often... these are the wonderful fruits of our meditation practice.
The other side of meditation is the experience of deep, fierce transformation and growth.
This is the muddy, often heart-rapturing piece that you come into contact with when parts of yourself need to heal or when you are experiencing difficulty.
The secret here is that meditation not only trains our brains to become more present, but it also automatically trains us to be more compassionate. So as long as we are showing up and not resisting our present moment experience by wishing our thoughts away or bypassing our emotions, then we are also inherently training ourselves to become more loving and kind.
Each time you meet yourself with kindness and love in your meditation practice, you add a drop of love into your awakening, compassionate heart.
Traditionally, meditation is a path of awakening. What do you wake up to? Yourself, and all that you are holding onto in your life. The thoughts you are having, the emotions you feel (or repress) and your inner truth become clearer and stronger the longer you learn to be with your difficulties in a different way.
The only way to meet your difficulties in a way that will lead to eventual transformation is with love, through the form of compassion.
So, each time you show up to your meditation practice and you sit with a willingness to be with what is and meet it with love and compassion, you are cultivating a loving heart.
This loving heart has the strength to transform any difficulty. Compassion, the ability to be with our own hardships and the hardships of others, is what gets us through to the other side of love and growth.
How To Cultivate A Loving Heart
Along with meeting your thoughts, emotions and the moment exactly as it is in meditation, there are some additional practices I often recommend.
At anytime during your meditation or in the midst of daily activity, stress or hardship, gently introduce the following phrases. You can repeat them silently, with your hand on your heart if you choose, and cultivate sensations of warmth, kindness and tenderness as you repeat them:
- May I meet this too with kindness.
- May I learn to meet this difficulty with love and compassion.
- May I find ease and peace in this moment.
- May I meet this with wisdom and unconditional compassion.
You can try all of these phrases at once or focus on one or two. Repeat the phrase until you feel love, peace and calmness in your heart. You will know when your difficulties are transforming as you will feel relief and ease in your heart and mind.
May these practices support you and help you cultivate love in the midst of difficulty.
Remember that difficulties are inevitable, being the beautiful human beings that we are, and it is HOW WE MEET THEM that will lead us to transformation, growth and freedom.