Today in Class: Giving Love Freely
At the end of my class today I guided my students through a meditation in which I asked them to think of three people in their lives. The first person should be a person that you love very deeply, someone you care about very much and wish only happiness and safety to. The second person is someone that you don't know all that much but that you see often; perhaps the cashier at your local grocery store, a co-worker, or someone at your gym or fitness center. The last person is someone with whom you have conflict. This last person could also be someone you love, or a family member, co-worker, etc. but it should be a person with whom your relationship is strained.
I asked my yogis to envision these three people from their own lives, and then imagine meeting them one by one. As you come across the first person that you love, you say hello and are very happy to see them. They are just going about their day and you watch them for a little while and then they leave your space and you say good-bye, wishing them well and sending them all your love. I told my students, "think about how easy it is to send your love to this person. It requires no effort at all, it is completely natural. Remember how this feels."
I continued on, inviting my students to move onward in their meditation, and coming upon the second person we talked about. This person is someone you don't know well, but that is present in your life regularly. You have no judgements about him or her. You watch this person go about their day, an invisible passerby. I asked them to then send this person love and kindness. Although you may not be close to this person, you have the power to be a moment of light in their lives when you do come across them. I reminded them of the freely flowing love they were able to send to a person they really cared about, and asked them to find that same feeling with this second person.
Slowly I brought them away from the second person, wishing them love and safety as we walked forward toward the third and final person. This is the person with whom you have conflict, perhaps you feel anger toward them. I told my students to watch this person go about their day in their minds' eye. Even if you feel a tightness toward this person, even if this person is the worst type of person that you don't want anything to do with: wish this person happiness and love. Come back to that feeling of free flowing love. Wish this person happiness and peace as you walk away. I then guided them out of the meditation and back to their physical bodies.
This kind of meditation is always an emotional one. One of my students had begun crying, and we talked together about self-love and letting go after class was over. So much of the time we let other people have complete control over our own happiness. We feel anger and fear toward people we tell ourselves will hurt us, or don't like us. If we are hurt by someone we love, we carry that hurt around with us and hand it out to every new person we meet. In this way, we are creating an environment for that same feeling to surface again. If we ask ourselves in every new relationship, "Will this person hurt me like the last person? They are doing the same things, so it must be true." Then we are only setting ourselves up for another failure. So what can we do?
Go back to that last person in the meditation. Forgive them. Let go of whatever it is that they have made you feel whether it's anger, sadness, rejection, fear. You cannot know what that person has gone through in life, even if you think you do. Let go of judgement, and find that well of love within yourself. If you can find this well of self-love, no one has the power to hurt you. Emotions like sadness and anger and fear are going to arise from time to time; let them. Without these feelings we would not be able to cherish feelings of happiness, peace, and love.
Understand that love comes from within you, because it is you. We are all capable of endless love, free flowing and abundant if only we look for it in ourselves. With this limitless supply we can give a little love out to everyone, no matter what state he or she may be in in their own lives. Give love, and it will come back to you.