This week’s blog post is about how to prevent negative thoughts spiralling out of control. Most negative thoughts are linked to guilt and/or fear and the best antidote is compassion. When you find yourself trapped by negative thoughts, instead of trying to understand or solve them, just sit with them and listen and empathise, like you would with a friend in distress or a crying baby.
The loving kindness meditation below can help you with this process as it extends the circle of compassion from yourself to all living beings. It is a positive feedback loop, because if you practise kindness to others, you will find it easier to be kind to yourself, and vice versa. And it can be surprisingly difficult to be kind to yourself.
This meditation can also be particularly useful for dissipating anger (Emotional Alchemy/Tara Bennett-Goleman).
The loving kindness meditation
Sitting comfortably, feet on the floor, hands in your lap, eyes closed, say in your head:
May I be safe and free from suffering.
May I be as happy and as healthy as it is possible for me to be.
May I have ease of being.
Now repeat this with a loved one in mind, using their name to replace ‘I’.
Next repeat it thinking of someone that you find challenging at the moment and are finding it hard to like.
Finally extend the circle of compassion to embrace all living beings:
May all living beings be safe and free from suffering.
May all living beings be as happy and as healthy as it is possible for them to be.
May all living beings have ease of being.
You don’t even need to believe that it could be possible, it is the intention that counts.
Next week I will look at how to be kind to yourself in action as well as thought.