One of the most potent means I’ve found for improving the resonance of my being so that I’m more open to love and happiness and all the good things of life is to practice loving-kindness virtualization.
About Loving-kindness Virtualization
Loving-kindness virtualization is like traditional Buddhist loving-kindness meditation, except instead of just verbally wishing others well, you take time to vividly imagine and feel the happiness and well-being that you wish for them.
I notice that when I practice this form of virtualization it gives me a big energetic boost and enhances my awareness of my connectedness to all other people. When I vividly imagine another person feeling happy and loved — sometimes especially if I don’t like that person or have a grudge against them — I feel the happiness and love that I’m imagining on their behalf.
This clues me in that my happiness really isn’t separate from theirs. It’s all one big field, available to be shared.
How to Practice Loving-kindness Virtualization
1. Find some place to be relatively alone and relaxed.
2. Take a few deep breaths, center yourself in the intention to extend your love and drop your grievances.
3. Bring to mind someone you’re a little bit irritated with– a friend, a colleague, someone you see on the bus every day.
4. Imagine that person in a place where they’re tremendously happy, doing what they most love. This can be tough if you don’t know the person all that well or you’ve never seen them really happy. Nonetheless, make something up.
Example: See your colleague who likes to bake standing in the midst of a totally gorgeous kitchen with glossy blue walls and a high stamped-tin ceiling: she has graceful cake plates stacked with luscious cupcakes all around her; her heart is full with joy and peace; she’s stirring a bowl of golden batter; she’s surrounded by people she loves who are sharing in her bounty. She’s radiant, her face is beaming. The room smells like swiss cocoa and cinnamon. Someone makes a joke and the happy baker bursts out with a delighted, full-bodied laugh.
This virtualization might take some work to come up with because you usually encounter your colleague looking bored across the table from you at meetings, quibbling with your ideas, rushing past you in the hallways.
The Benefits for Another
To invest your time imagining her gloriously happy and fulfilled is a real act of generosity on your part. Since all of us human beings are connected by a morphic field, your kind vision for your colleague actually has the effect of improving the probabilities in the field directly surrounding her. The altered condition of the field can then draw forth from her new manifestations of joy.
The Benefits for You
While practicing this loving-kindness virtualization for your colleague, you’ll immediately start to feel more of your own love and generosity. Even if you begin from a place of resentment or irritation, you’ll discover after awhile that you really would like to see this person being completely fulfilled and relaxed. Just realizing this brings you to some important knowledge: you’re a kind person who can take real pleasure in the happiness of others.
You’ll also start to feel happier and lighter yourself. It’s impossible to vividly imagine anyone feeling really great without you also starting to feel really great. You’ve not just improved the field surrounding your colleague– you’ve improved the whole field surrounding you.
You may notice that after doing this meditation you feel more alert, more interested in your life, more inclined to do things, more glad to listen closely to other people when they talk.
The next time you see your colleague after you’ve practiced the loving-kindness virtualization on her behalf, you’ll feel more inclined to be soft towards her and less inclined to judge her.
You’ll sympathize with her own best wishes for herself, and you’ll be able to intuitively grasp how her irritating actions (quibbling, rushing) are part of her means of coping with life’s difficulties and defending her tenuous sense of self. You’ll see she can’t help it. You’ll feel more compassionate, and interested in helping her.
We human beings are all extremely perceptive. Because we’re connected by the field, we can feel when someone genuinely wishes well for us, and we respond to this positively.
Over time, your colleague will pick up on your altered resonance. She’ll notice that you don’t put out vibes of irritation or disapproval when she brushes by you. She’ll be able to relax more when she’s in your presence. She might ask you how you’re doing. She might support one of your ideas brought up at a meeting.
One day she might bring you some rad cinnamon cupcakes with cocoa-custard icing, and then you’ll know the magic is really working.
Image Credit: Photo of cupcakes from Little Cupcakes, Desgraves St., Melbourne by dootsiez on flickr, used under Creative Commons license.