With one warmly dressed toe into the New Year, I consider what would be of value to reflect upon and write about. For so many of us, 2017 was filled with layers of strife. Now that the year is behind us, I sense a general feeling of wanting to be and do better in 2018; a sense of personal optimism.
A question from 2017 that followed me into the New Year: Where lies the importance of being humane to all beings? I sense there is the potential to lose it. This stems from a general reaction to living in a country that treats corporations as individuals and gives them preference. It is a reaction to individual need versus community need (as in elders, disabled, students, veterans, immigrants, etc.). Finally, it is a reaction to a younger generation who sees more screen time than human touch time.
The state of humaneness relates to other words like: compassion, brotherly/sisterly love, kindness, consideration, understanding, empathy, tenderness and benevolence.
It struck me that “loving-kindness” has the broadest connection to all the words listed above. More so, acts of loving-kindness are a way to be pro-active and demonstrate the positive effects these actions can generate personally and generally. I’ve recited loving-kindness Buddhist meditations throughout the years and always felt their potent influence on mind and body.
Coincidentally, I recently found a Loving-Kindness (Meditation) Writing Exercise that speaks to being humane. I am committing to using this particular writing exercise on a daily basis for a few months. This way, the words will have a deeper impact. You may also find this exercise useful.
Loving-Kindness Writing Exercise
This loving-kindness writing exercise is by Charles Francis. He is the founder of the Mindfulness Meditation Institute and the author of a book and CD on mindfulness mediation.
Charles said: “This writing meditation will help improve relationships by enabling you to be more kind and loving without any conscious effort. It does this by reprogramming your subconscious in a way that is much more effective than reading, hearing, or reciting the affirmations. The exercise will help heal wounds from the past, as you become more forgiving, understanding, and compassionate. You'll be able to connect with people on a much deeper level. “
Instructions: Copy the following verses by hand in a notebook or journal, every day for about 10-15 minutes. Any time of the day is fine. However, if you do it in the morning, it will set the tone for your day. When done in the evening, you will sleep better. You don’t have to do the whole meditation in one session. It doesn’t matter how far you get each time. Simply write for a few minutes every day. Then the next day, pick up where you left off. After a few days, notice how your thinking and behavior are changing. It's important to do the exercise consistently. The practice is most effective if it’s done every day for several months.