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The goal of love meditation is to release and reject negative thoughts and feelings and replace them with feelings of love and good will. This form of meditation promotes a positive outlook, improves mental health and may even strengthen the immune system. Typically, love meditation focuses on four areas: feeling love for friends, feeling compassion for people who are suffering, contemplating people who have shown the meditator love or who the meditator admires, and fostering love for people who have harmed the meditator. Each of these four areas is considered in the reflective stages of love meditation.
To begin love meditation, the person meditating should find a quiet place with no distractions and settle into a comfortable position. The body should be relaxed so that all stress and tension is released. Love meditation can be practiced with the eyes closed or opened and focused on a non-distracting distant point. The meditator should then take several slow, deep breaths and imagine the tensions and worries of life releasing on each exhale. This should be continued until the body, heart and mind are quiet and calm.
The meditator should then begin to turn his focus to the heart. He should image soft warmth filling the chest and radiating outward. Using this internal warmth, the meditator should begin to remove any negative thoughts from his mind and focus on love. This can be accomplished by concentrating on a time when the meditator felt loved, did something loving for someone else or witnessed an act of kindness.
Now, the meditator should turn his attention to the four areas of love, spending about three to five minutes on each stage. Beginning with the easiest stage, he should start by building a loving attitude toward himself and those who love him. In the second stage, he should focus on feeling compassion for suffering people. Third, he should think about someone whose deeds or actions promoted love. In the final and most challenging stage, the meditator should work to neutralize negative feelings toward those who have harmed him and eventually guide those feelings toward love, compassion and understanding.
The meditation session should end by quieting the mind. After passing through the four stages of love contemplation, the meditator should switch his focus from the heart to deep breathing. Following love meditation, most people feel uplifted, renewed and full of positive energy.
Love meditation is often recommended for people who have difficulty dealing with stress or anger. This form of meditation may also help people who are going through a stressful time in life, such as a divorce or the death of a loved one. Love meditation is sometimes also recommended for people who are struggling with difficult medical treatments.