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MIDL 29/52: Loving Kindness: Difficult Person


In MIDL Mindfulness Training 29/52 you take the foundation of loving kindness developed towards yourself & your loved one in the previous training, in order to recondition your relationship towards difficult people within your life. You do this by first generating the loving feeling towards yourself and your loved one then bringing a difficult person to mind while holding the loving feeling. This may bring up some resistance causing the loving feeling to fade. You then bring your loved one to mind, strengthening the feeling before going back to the difficult person until yourself, loved one & difficult person are all loved ones. Submit Your Question

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Love for Ones Self

Your Question: I find it more difficult to send loving thoughts towards myself, to wish that I am happy, peaceful than I do towards someone that I love or someone who is difficult towards me. I don’t really know what to make of these exercises, which indicates to me that this is in fact where I need to be right now.

Stephen Procter: It is normal to find it hard to develop loving feeling towards ourself. When training in loving kindness you should always start with someone that you respect or genuinely care for, they are your catalyst for generating loving feeling. The important part in this meditation is not the words but the generation of the feeling. You first generate the loving feeling on your loved / respected person and build it until it is strong. You then switch to yourself, transferring the feeling and continuing to encourage it to grow.

When the loving feeling dies down you then generate it on your loved one again; then back to yourself. When the feeling dies down again you change back to your loved one and so on. The feeling of loving kindness will then start to stick to your image, you do this until the feeling for yourself and your loved one is the same. You can then start cultivating it for others such as a difficult person within your life, but to do this you first have to develop it for yourself otherwise you are meditating as if with a flat battery. Be patient in this practice, your current relationship towards yourself is conditioned and in this way you can re-condition the relationship.

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Retrain My Subconcious

Your Question: Helpful meditation but would prefer to say 'my wishes for you that you ARE happy rather than MAYBE happy.' Same wishes for myself as I feel if I am going retrain my subconscious I need to say I AM happy. Not a criticism. Just my thoughts on the meditation.

Stephen Procter: I will just explain the mechanics behind this practice. The words used during this Loving Kindness meditation are 'May You Be happy', not "Maybe happy' , perhaps there has been confusion with my accent and it is hard to hear. During this meditation the words are used as a vehicle on which to carry and cultivate the emotion behind the phrases. This is because the generation of the loving feeling is more important then the words.

Metta - Loving Kindness is generated through the 'wish for' happiness for yourself or the other. Positive affirmations such as 'I Am Happy' / 'You Are Happy' are not used because they do not generate the feeling of Loving Kindness. This meditation practice is not designed to retrain your subconscious, it is designed to replace any negative emotional charge attached to a memory of yourself or another through cultivating and reapplying the positive emotion generated to the image held within the mind.

This is done by first swapping the feeling of Loving Kindness between yourself and a loved one until you both become loved ones, then working your way through different people until everyone when brought to mind, triggers the feeling of Loving Kindness to arise.

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