An Introduction to Loving Kindness
from Guided Meditation, Explorations and Healings

Blueprint for a meditation - one that promotes the compassion of the heart.

The practice of exploring the mind and that which lies beyond, begins and ends with the heart.
The first step in our liberation is the cultivation of the heart's natural compassion. Meditation begins with the practice of non-injury, a deep willingness to end the suffering in the world and in ourselves. In truth it may be impossible to be alive in a body without causing pain to other beings and species, but our intention can be to create as little pain as possible and to use this life for the benefit of others. Non-injury is an intention, a guideline for the mind from the nature of the heart.
We eat. We love in confused manners. We trip and fall over states of mind. And we learn the art of balance. [To support the changes, the heart suggests "without becoming aggressive toward the mind."] We are learning to live in a sacred manner.
What is called for is neither force nor acquiescence, but an active participation in the moment. It is an opening to let in healing. When Mahatma Gandhi was asked about the "passive resistance" he was teaching all over India, he replied, "There is nothing passive in my resistance. It is just non-violent." Gandhi's "non-violence" is a skillful means toward a peaceful mind and world. Violence originates from the mind. Healing from the heart.
So the heart and its "still small voice within" is taken as teacher on the path of liberation. And non-injury is its most obvious quality. Non-injury ranges from self-forgiveness to the end of world hunger. When we begin to practice non-injury, the judging mind, which gets so exasperated with our "trying," is not allowed its abusiveness without a deep response from a merciful awareness. Non-injury means to treat others--and ourselves--as the subject of our heart instead of an object in our mind.
This is not the judgment-inducing dictum of the Ten Commandments. This is a commitment to healing and purification -- a will toward clear action. As with Buddhist precepts -- such as non-killing, non-stealing, non-lying, non-sexual misconduct--non-injury and compassion are not divine rules carved in stone, but simply reflections in the mind of the nature of the heart used to reinforce stability and balance on the path. They are gentle reminders, teaching guides, along the shining path between what seem at times glaring opposites.
This is not the self-hating morality which turns the pain to my pain. It is rather "a sense of the appropriate" which rises naturally from levels of awareness deeper than our masks and posturings, deeper than the personality, or even the acquired self. Entering directly our essential being -- the heart of the matter -- our "natural goodness" is manifest unceasingly. Clear action clears the way for clearer actions. Kindness calms the mind.

An Introduction to Loving Kindness
...By cultivating loving kindness in that aspect of mind that usually lives life as an afterthought, we change the context of our existence. We begin to live directly. We awaken.
The meditation that follows uses the conceptual, word-oriented mindscape in perhaps its most skillful manner. It turns a hindrance into an ally.
The difference between receiving thought in a merciful awareness and being lost in thinking is the difference between liberation and bondage. Loving kindness deepens the responsive while softening the reactive.
Loving kindness is not unique in its ability to be cultivated. We can cultivate any mental quality. Most of us have intensified our fear and anger by holding so often to the contents of the mind as being all we are. Practice indeed perfects, and we have perfected our fear to a frightening degree. Practicing envy or anger cultivates the re-arising of indignation and resentment. Practicing loving kindness encourages the recurrence of mercy and awareness and the letting go of the hindrances to the heart -- the self-interest, the fear, the separatism, the judgment, which limit our direct participation in the mystery.
In the acquired mind there floats a thought-bubble called "me" and a thought-bubble called "you," but in reality there is just a hum of being, a suchness. And we think