As we entered into our fourth and final class of Session 3, we started with a welcoming meditation from Aimee that included this invitation from Hafiz:
Just sit there.
Don’t do a thing.
For this separation
from God, from love,
is the hardest work
in the world.
After our check-in time, we continued to explore Loving Kindness meditation by taking some time to create our own phrases. This exercise is based on a courageous practice of deep listening when we ask ourselves questions such as:
“What do I need?”
“What words do I long to hear?”
After our break, we did the “Loving Kindness for Ourselves” meditation, using the phrases we had been creating.
You are invited and encouraged to continue the practice of deep listening to your own heart and refining a few simple, clear, and authentic phrases with which your heart resonates (and does not object). These phrases can be used in meditation and also in a variety of formal and informal practices.
Our class concluded with this quote from Laura McKowan:
“This is what we do when we are devoted. We show up as we are. It is practical and it is profound. We stay the course, we do the best we can in each changing moment, and most importantly, we come back when we lose our way. The real act of love is the return. And this love is the thing that lifts us higher. I had tried to hate myself into acting better for far too long. I had worshipped at the altars of Shame and Guilt and Self-Loathing and Other People’s Ideas; those were diminishing, false Gods. Love was the only way up. It was the only thing I really had to learn. It would be hard and beautiful work to do this. It would be necessary.”
- Remembering that the body can be a portal to pure relief, joy, ease, I encourage you to not let slip away the opportunity to revisit compassionate movement, with beginners’ eyes, for 10 minutes or more. It’s a practice designed to help you ask yourself for what you need, but from the inside, out. To let your movement be a response to the energy alive in you. There is no right or wrong way. You may also wish to add music you love and see how that goes.
- Continue with 20-30 minutes of formal practice at least 5x per week. In order to reinforce our work in class, please focus on Lovingkindness for Ourselves. If you haven’t yet explored Meditators Dilemma and you’re finding formal practice a struggle, I really, really encourage you to dip into it.
- Creative Invitation: Artful Expression of Loving-kindness Phrases
Self-Observation Without Judgment
Release the harsh and pointed inner
voice. it’s just a throwback to the past,
and holds no truth about this moment.
Let go of self-judgment, the old,
learned ways of beating yourself up
for each imagined inadequacy.
Allow the dialogue within the mind
to grow friendlier, and quiet. Shift
out of inner criticism and life
suddenly looks very different.
i can say this only because I make
the choice a hundred times a day to release the voice that refuses to
acknowledge the real me.
What’s needed here isn’t more prodding toward perfection, but
intimacy – seeing clearly, and
embracing what I see.
Love, not judgment, sows the
seeds of tranquility and change.