Becoming The Gift of Love & Joy Meditation
By Erika Trice
The holidays are often a time of year when our stress and anxiety increase. The pressure of social celebrations, visiting family, and the burdens of travel and gift-giving can sometimes create more frustration than pleasure. We know we should be feeling happy and joyous because that is what the season is all about, but we just can't seem to relax into the joy.
There is a famous quote by Ram Dass that says …”If you think you are enlightened, go spend a week with your family.”
I am sure we can all relate to this. Many of us have had the experience of feeling great in our lives: full of joy, in control of things, able to handle challenges and disappointments. We are able to acknowledge how much we have grown in our capacity to deal with all sorts of circumstances and we are really proud of our progress. Then we go home for holidays and everything falls apart. All of our growth and progress fly out the window and we find ourselves reverting to old ways.
Buddhist meditation teacher Jack Kornfield tells a wonderful story about a woman who would go home to visit her parents after she began studying Buddhism. She would make a point to tell them all about Buddhism, mindfulness, and the changes that this new path was making in her life. Her parents would nod and sort of listen but never change their own habits. One day the woman went to visit her parents and decided to give up on trying to convince them to change their ways. Instead, she decided to focus on embodying everything she was learning. She meditated every day she was visiting, staying grounded and calm in all her interactions with her parents. At the end of that visit, for the first time ever, her parents asked about meditation and how they could learn more. When reflecting back on the experience, the woman said, “This last visit, instead of telling my parents about Buddhism and meditation, I simply became the Buddha.”
Becoming the Buddha or the gift of love and joy to others is the perfect way to shift our experience of the holidays. As a gift to you this holiday season, International Yoga teacher Erika Trice has lovingly created a simple meditation to help you ease into the season with peace of mind and a loving, joyous heart.
Becoming The Gift of Love & Joy Meditation:
- Find a quiet area where you can be alone for a few minutes - this can be in a room in your house, a place in your garden, or anywhere you feel comfortable
- Take a moment and find a seat where you can sit in a way that allows for steadiness and ease
- When you are ready, close your eyes and begin taking some deeper breaths in & out
- Feel the movement of the breath in and out of the chest area
- Imagining a soft smile spreading in the heart – A smile that allows you to sense into the space that is there
- As you breathe softly and deeply into this area, place your hands on your chest – notice the warmth of your hands have to offer
- Offer to yourself kindness and care
- Offering compassion to yourself for whatever you may be feeling in this moment
- Noticing and observing if there is anything specific that is calling your attention
- And just be with whatever arises – breathing into it and offering it your full presence
- And then begin to invite into you the energy of the Universe that is intrinsically kind and loving
- You can ask for that love to flow down, into and all around you – bathing you in its bright presence like a warm embrace
- And Maybe sensing your own unique way of touching into the beloved divine and being blessed with Love
- Begin to become aware of a golden light in the center of your chest. You might visualize it or simply feel its glowing presence
- With each breath in, sense the light growing brighter. With each breath out, feel it radiating light through the center of your chest —out the front, the sides, and the back.
- Focus on that light for a few moments. Resting your awareness there
- Inhaling it brighter, exhaling and watching it spread outward through your chest and even into your whole body.
- Inhale, and it glows, exhale, and it expands.
- As you stay this experience, you may want to offer some words of loving-kindness to yourself and to others in your life.
- “May I be happy, May I be healthy, May I be safe, May I be free of suffering, May I be at Peace.
- Inward, offering these words as a sincere wish for yourself.
- Repeating them as many times as you would like to
- After you have finished offering the words for yourself, you may want to extend them out to someone else.
- May they (you can say their name here) be happy. May they be healthy. May they be safe. May they be free of suffering. May they be at Peace.
- Allowing kindness, joy, and love to flow outward to that person. Offering them the same sincere wish you offered to yourself.
- Stay with this sacred space for as long as you want. Continue to offer these same phrases to any others that you may want to send kindness and love to
- When you feel complete, let go of the visualization and the phrases.
- Reconnecting with your breath and your body for a few moments
- Gently opening your eyes when you are ready
Join Erika Trice on her upcoming retreat and discover the magical culture of Peru!