In week six of the eight week Mindfulness Meditation Course I teach a loving kindness meditation AKA the Befriending Meditation. It helps you to befriend the difficult, cultivate compassion and feel empathy for yourself and your fellow humans. Perhaps like a parent, I am not meant to have favourites, but this baby has to be up there. It sounds a bit woolly and dare I say it, a bit Buddhist, to be wishing people well. To be holding people who might have annoyed you during the week in your heart and mind. But it has such exquisite power. It melts through cynicism and sarcasm, which for many of us can be a default setting to help us cope with life.
If you can’t do it for yourself do it for the world. If you can’t do it for the world do it for yourself. If you can’t do it for either do it for your loved ones. There are no boundaries for who we can hold in a our heart and minds.
I regularly do a befriending meditation as I walk from one bit of the tube to another. I look at each human, a passing stranger I will never meet, and wish them well. What happens when you love bomb a celebrity? In North London the other day I found out, she looked back at me, all the other passing people were plugged in to devices or looking at the floor, unaware of my looking their way. But she looked like she could always tell when someone has spotted her. She smiled, perhaps assuming I was looking because I recognised her. I smiled back and continued to wish her well.
Today’s total practice time: 40 minutes