On Valentine’s day, we think of those we love. In the meditative tradition, we practice arousing the mind of love–a mind that wishes happiness for others. In his A Little Book of Love, the teacher Moh Hardin writes, “the practice of wishing happiness to others is so simple that it is easy to overlook its profundity.”
On our meditation cushion, once our mind has settled a little bit, we can turn it to the practice of contemplation. In the case of breath meditation, instead of the sensation of breathing, the contemplation becomes the object of your meditative awareness.
From Mr. Hardin’s chapter entitled The Power of a Wish, here are the seven steps in the contemplation called Rousing the Awakened Mind of Love.
1. We can start with ourselves. We can wish for our own happiness. We can make a gesture of friendship to ourself. Contemplate your own happiness for a minute. What is happiness?
2. Think of someone you love, then think of a time your loved one was happy and how his or her happiness made you feel. Let your mind stay with that feeling for a moment.
3. Take that feeling of love and expand to include your family and friends.
4. Imagine expanding this love to include the people you pass on the street, the people you stand with in a checkout line, anywhere and everywhere…they are the people who live in your town or neighborhood. Rouse the aspiration that they could enjoy happiness today. Expand your love to them.
5. Expand this feeling of love to someone you consider an enemy. Rouse the wish that your enemy be happy. This step is generally the most challenging.
6. Dissolve the boundaries by contemplating everyone you have thought of thus far…
7. Expand your love to all beings on earth. Cultivate your love by wishing that they all enjoy happiness.
When you are finished, let your mind relax and rest in the present moment with the breath.
Simple, yet profound. Thank you Mr. Hardin. For the complete instructions, see A Little Book of Love.
A Little Book of Love, by Moh Hardin, ©2011 by Moh Hardin. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston, MA.