Starting the New Year with Compassion


There is something about the holidays that brings out the worst in me. I’ll admit that I am a bit of a Grinch. Why must I have my house ready for guests, bake all sorts of cookies, buy presents for those I love and those I only see once a year? I get lost in all the fuss and frenzy and often forget to enjoy the joy that this time of year can bring. Right now, I am currently so lost in the frenzy, that I can’t see the festive. What I am concerned about is how to not let my own personal drama affect my relationships with my family and friends during this time of year. I want to find a way to bring compassion with me and to share it. I want to start the new year with a bit more love and bit less stress.

So, how do you continue to bring compassion to everyone, even if you feel like you are in short supply of compassion? I use the Buddhist metta meditation. Metta means love, and in this instance, loving-kindness. Metta meditation helps you spread loving-kindness and compassion to all beings. Here is how it works during the holidays:

  1. Imagine how you feel right now. Miserable. I don’t want to feel miserable. I want to be happy. I love myself. Happiness and less stress would really be great. Send yourself some love.
  2. Imagine how your close friends and family are feeling. Well, for one I don’t want to share this stress with them. Secondly, if I’m feeling stressed they probably are too. I don’t want them to be miserable. I want the people I love to be happy, without suffering. Mentally send them love. Meditate on a light or ray of love flowing from you to them. Promise yourself that you will act with the kindness and love in your heart when you interact with them, and actually do it.
  3. Imagine how your acquaintances are feeling right now. Perhaps, check your facebook and see how everyone is feeling today. Not everyone is stressed all the time. And not everyone is willing to broadcast their emotions to me- a mere acquaintance. But I guess that if I am stressed sometimes, than other people must also feel stressed at times. I do not want to make their suffering, whether it is small or large, worse. Send your little “love ray” to everyone you may know.
  4. Imagine the random people you meet throughout the day. Send them some love.
  5. Imagine the random people you meet throughout the day that are jerks to you. Maybe they were extra stressed that day. Maybe I rubbed them the wrong way. Who knows? I don’t want to make their stress even worse. Send them some love.
  6. Imagine the people who haven’t had a chance to meet yet. Send them some love.
  7. Here’s where this gets tricky: Imagine the people you can’t stand. Bring to mind the people who piss you off, drive you insane, or are generally evil people. I like to image two groups for this one: the people that have bothered me lately and people that are terrible humans (terrorists for example). Hate breeds hate. Love is the only thing that can stop hate. Love is the only thing that can mend broken relationships. Love is always the answer, even if it is hard to find. Send the broken people love. Stop and actually allow yourself to wish kindness upon the people you like the least. Promise yourself that if you were to ever meet them you would continue to act with love towards them.

This really does help. I always feel a bit more calm after a moment concentrating on this. Sometimes, I’ll take a seat to meditate. And others, I will have to focus on sending love while vacuuming or changing my baby’s diapers. This meditation helps stop the cycle of stress and frenzy. I can’t think of a better New Year’s resolution. Don’t send more chaos into the mess. Send love.

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