The loving kindness meditation
I'm just back from a holiday in Marrakech.
One of my lasting memories of this beautiful place was a trip to Jardin Majorelle. This is where, in the early 1920s, the French artist Louis Majorelle built a villa and created a stunning garden in which he planted ﬂowers from all around the world.
The designer Yves Saint Laurent subsequently bought the villa in 1980 and increased the number of ﬂower and plant species from 135 to 300. Think dazzling magenta bougainvillea, creamy white jasmine and acid yellow lemons set against stunning cobalt or Majorelle blue. The experience reminded me just how much I adore ﬂowers. Now that I'm back in the UK, I'm committed to bringing them into my Yoga space.
With ﬂowers in mind, I want to share with you this week a ﬂower meditation called the Loving Kindness Meditation (thanks to Ven. Ayya Khema). Some of you will be very familiar with this as I use it a lot in my classes. It really is one of my all-time favourite meditations using the image of a ﬂower as its focus. It may be done in a group or individually.
The Loving Kindness Meditation - A Flower Meditation
Find a comfortable seated position in a space where you will be undisturbed for 10 minutes.
Close your eyes. Allow your body to settle.
Please put your attention on the breath for a few moments. Look into your heart and ﬁnd your own capacity to love. Imagine it to be a beautiful ﬂower that you are allowing to grow. Let this beautiful ﬂower expand, so that you're totally ﬁlled with the all-encompassing aroma of love. Give the gift of of this ﬂower of love to the person sitting nearest to you.
Make it as large as yourself, ﬁlled with the most wonderful aroma. Hand a ﬂower like that, the most beautiful one you can think of, as large as yourself, with the most delightful aroma, the ﬂower of love, to each person present now as a gift from you. Present this beautiful ﬂower, containing all your love, to the people nearest and dearest to you. Make it large enough to ﬁll each person from head to toe, beautiful enough to arouse joy and delight. Hand one to all your friends, giving each one the gift of love from your heart, in the shape of a beautiful ﬂower.
Give a beautiful ﬂower of love to all the people that come into your life; those you've met just brieﬂy, those whom you see often. Let them all have the gift of love from you. Give them the most beautiful ﬂower you can imagine. Hand the beautiful ﬂower of love from your heart to a person whom you don't like. Let that person also have the same gift from you, making no distinctions between people.
Make as many ﬂowers of love grow in your heart as possible. Hand those beautiful ﬂowers - all containing love, all full of a wonderful aroma - to as many people as you can think of. (Pause). Come back to your own heart and observe the beautiful feeling of having such beauty within bring happiness and joy to you. May all beings have love in their hearts.
Your Favourite Flowers
Which are your favourite ﬂowers and do you use them in your Yoga space?
Perhaps you have a favourite ﬂower meditation you would like to share?