Loving Kindness – The Child. Children and babies have an extraordinary way of bringing us into the present moment – because that’s where they dwell!
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Sometimes, we get stuck.
We become hooked on a problem or issue, and it seems to eclipse any ability to be happy or at peace.
We find ourselves looping back to this issue over and over again, rehearsing conversations, replaying “if only”s. We berate ourselves for not doing things differently. We’re anxious, angry, frustrated, fearful or sad.
When we’re in this state, it can seem impossible to access loving kindness. It might feel forced, or like just another thing we’re “failing” at.
At yet, when we are feeling stuck, connecting to pure loving kindness is an extremely effective way to loosen our grip, come into the present moment, and open our hearts.
Children and babies have an extraordinary way of bringing us into the present moment – because that’s where they dwell. And there is no child or baby more impactful to your life than the one you used to be.
There are a few ways of going about this meditation. You can try one and then move to another – they are interchangeable, and what works for you one day might not work the next. Play with them, and feel out what works best for you.
Think of an age when you felt the most wonder, the most innocence, the greatest joy.
Who were you then? What did you look like? How did it feel to be you?
Connect with the feeling of being that age. What excited you? How did you perceive the world?
Invite this younger you into your consciousness. Ask them to come as close to you as they wish. They might sit next to you, in your lap, or simply be in the room with you. Whatever comes up is the right thing.
Imagine how your young self would perceive your current emotional state.
How would they react to your suffering?
If possible, imagine this younger version of yourself holding your hand, giving you a hug, or simply sitting in silence with you. How would they be around you?
Step into your younger self. Imagine being younger you, holding space for present day you.
Not offering judgment or advice. Being curious and compassionate.
If you find yourself drifting into a story, gently let it go and return to the visualization. Come back to the feeling of how small you would treat adult you.
Allowing your younger self to stay, switch your focus to present you. Imagine that it is your younger self who’s feeling the feelings you’re struggling with right now.
How would you react?
Perhaps you’d put an arm around your small self’s shoulders, or give them a hug. Perhaps you’d hold them and let them cry. You might simply place a hand on their back, or stroke their cheek.
You might say,
“I love you.”
Or any other words of comfort.
Allow yourself to be present for this small, innocent you. You might even wrap your arms around your own body, giving yourself a hug – or stroke your own cheek.
Stay in the energy of being with this pain, which was not caused by you. When your mind wanders, bring it gently back to the feeling of staying with this young, innocent version of yourself.
In this last version, we invoke our infant self – pre-verbal, pre-walking.
Much like the last exercise, stay in your present body, but imagine your feelings being felt by yourself as a baby, whom you are holding in your arms.
Hold and comfort this tiny creature as you were held, or as you would have wanted to be held – with presence, patience, and kindness.
Sense whether your infant self wants to be rocked. Imagine how you would relate to this baby and their emotions, and to their expression of those emotions. Notice how this feels in your heart, in your body.
When you’re ready, review what came up for you, and then let the visualization go.
Whenever we find ourselves struggling, we can call on our younger selves. It doesn’t have to be through formal meditation – we can invite them on a walk with us, to stand next to us in a public place, or to lie with us while falling asleep in bed at night. This is the beauty of love. It is always there for us. Sometimes we just need the right tools to access it.