08 Feb Start with what’s easy
A very popular and powerful meditation is Lovingkindness meditation (my favourite). The traditional teachings have you start with extending lovingkindness, first to yourself, then towards someone you care about, then towards someone neutral, then towards someone you may classify as “difficult” or that you have unresolved issues with, and, finally, to all beings.
The traditional approach uses the logic that you can’t give what you don’t have. On this particular meditation, Fredrickson acknowledges that starting with yourself may in fact be extremely difficult. It may be easier to extend lovingkindness to someone else before extending it to yourself. This really speaks to me. I find it much, much easier to start with extending lovingkindness to my family and friends rather than starting with myself. Does this make the practice less authentic? Not a chance; in fact, it may make the practice more accessible and rewarding, and help people enjoy the many (research-backed) benefits of a consistent meditation practice.
So, I find myself reflecting on this concept of starting with what’s easy when I’m feeling overwhelmed with a task and having difficulty taking the first step. When I take this approach, there’s a certain satisfaction with getting the process started, a feeling of reward when a task (even a small one) is completed, and renewed fuel to keep going.
Whether it’s a lifestyle addition or change, organizing paperwork (big gulp), starting a new habit, or letting go of an old one….start with what’s easy and see how things unfold.
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