Mindfulness Exercises For Loving Kindness & Compassion

Feel more care, loving kindness and compassion with our free mindfulness exercises, guided meditations, mindfulness worksheets and more. 

Self-Compassion Pause

Self-Compassion Pause

Practicing self-compassion is important to achieving greater clarity, compassion, & mindfulness in our lives. Try this free mindfulness exercise worksheet ...
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Gratitude Meditation

Gratitude Meditation

Allow yourself to feel appreciation and gratitude with Gratitude Meditation. Help yourself to have a good mood by not worrying ...
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The GLAD Technique

The G.L.A.D. Technique

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on The G.L.A.D. Technique, please bring kind awareness to- why you chose this topic- how your ...
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Guided Meditation for Self-Acceptance

Guided Meditation For Self-Acceptance

This 10-minute guided meditation will help you increase self-acceptance. Part of successful mindfulness practice involves learning to accept the present ...
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Loving Kindness Meditation

Loving-Kindness Meditation

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on Loving Kindness, please bring kind awareness to- why you chose this topic- how your belly, ...
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Writing for Self-Compassion

Writing for Self-Compassion

The writing for self-compassion is an exercise that is designed to help cultivate and promote self-compassion through writing ...
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Why Boys Are Mean to Girls They Like

Why Boys Are Mean To Girls They Like

Boys tend to be mean and nasty to girls they like, in part because they want to reduce the pain ...
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Free Self-Compassion Exercises

Free Self-Compassion Exercises

There's nothing wrong with taking care of yourself in time of suffering. Prioritize self-compassion through mindfulness exercises for your well-being ...
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Lovingkindness FI

Lovingkindness

Lovingkindness is a meditation technique that will enhance your feelings of unconditional love towards other people. It will also help ...
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Self-Love Affirmations

Self-Love Affirmations: I am Beautiful

Simple yet profound affirmations that increase and affirm self-love and self-respect for you to meditate anytime, anywhere. Affirm your self-worth ...
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Attitude of Acceptance

Attitude of Acceptance

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on Acceptance, please bring kind awareness to- why you chose this topic- how your belly, ...
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Gratitude Practice

Gratitude Practice

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on Gratitude Practice, please bring kind awareness to- why you chose this topic- how your belly, ...
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cultivating gratitude

Cultivating Gratitude

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on Cultivating Gratitude, please bring kind awareness to- why you chose this topic- how your ...
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Seeing Yourself With Love FI

Seeing Yourself With Love

Seeing Yourself with Love is a mindfulness practice that allows you to see the good qualities within you that others ...
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building empathy

Building Empathy

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on Building Empathy, please bring kind awareness to- why you chose this topic- how your belly, ...
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opening your heart and mind to gratitude

Opening Your Heart and Mind to Gratitude

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on Opening to Gratitude, please bring kind awareness to- why you chose this topic- how your ...
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Tonglen FI

Tonglen

Feeling stuck, cold, alienated, loveless, or alone? Open up yourself to love and connection with others by practicing this mindfulness ...
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1 Minute Meditation

12 Intentions of Gratitude

See if you can take an inventory of the things for which you're grateful. This meditation samples 12 intentions of ...
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Angel Meditation

Angel Meditation

With free online worksheet, the Angel Meditation helps brings about peace, healing, guidance, love, and cleanses the body and environment ...
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Goodness in Others

Seeing Goodness in Others

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on Seeing Goodness in Others, please bring kind awareness to- why you chose this topic- ...
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Lesson from Nature

Soulmate Attraction (Binaural Beat)

Attracting your soulmate is possible with mindfulness. This binaural beat will help you reach the grounded, fully present state necessary ...
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Meditation For Gratitude

Guided Meditation For Gratitude

This is a 10 minute guided meditation that is meant to help you start your day in a calm and ...
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Jack Kornfield: 12 Principles of Forgiveness

Jack Kornfield: 12 Principles of Forgiveness

Uploaded on Aug 23, 2011The acclaimed author and teacher explains the principles that are integral to the process of forgiving, ...
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How To Feel More Self-Compassion

How To Feel More Self-Compassion [Audio]

A talk on self-compassion by Rick Hanson:So, as the Buddha writes here or says here, if we really, you know, ...
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mindfulness exercises guided meditation 9

Compassionate Body Scan

Kristin Neff leads a meditation called the Compassionate Body Scan. It takes about 20 minutes to complete. Start with getting ...
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Practicing Mindfulness with Kindfulness

A Story: Practicing Mindfulness with Kindfulness

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on Kindfulness, please bring kind awareness to - why you chose this topic- how your ...
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Taking Other Viewpoints Tunnel-Busting

Taking Other Viewpoints / Tunnel-Busting

“Tunnel-busting” is the practice of shaking up one’s “reality tunnel,” another name for the set of viewpoints and conceptions we ...
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Simple kindness

Simple Kindness

Here Is Your Free Ebook:https://mindfulnessexercises.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/candasiri_simple_kindness.pdfThe Four Noble TruthsThere’s a story with which many of you are probably familiar, that begins ...
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How To Be Self-Compassionate

How To Be Self-Compassionate

Published on Oct 16, 2014The world's leading researcher of self-compassion and founder of the Mindful Self-Compassion program considers--and rebuts--some of ...
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Sharon Salzberg & Phoenix Soleil Fierce Compassion

Fierce Compassion & Self Care

Join Sharon Salzberg and Phoenix Soleil as they discuss fierce compassion & self-care and mindfulness at Talks at Google in ...
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Guided Meditation On Forgiveness

Guided Meditation on Forgiveness [Audio]

Forgiving doesn’t mean we don’t take care. It’s a movement of our own heart to re-open to life. That we ...
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Guided Loving Kindness Meditation

Guided Loving Kindness Meditation [Audio]

Guided Loving Kindness Meditation, by Pat Coffey:About Pat Coffey:Pat Coffey, MEd, began his meditation practice over 30 years ago and ...
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Guided Metta Meditation with Joseph Goldstein [Video]

Guided Metta Meditation with Joseph Goldstein [Video]

Published on Mar 30, 2015Here is a short introductory dharma talk on metta followed by a guided meditation with Buddhist ...
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Love And Self-Love

Love And Self-Love

Without a decent amount of self-love, the love of another person will always prove sickening and misguided. We should know ...
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Learn to Say Thank You

Practice Gratitude, Learn To Say Thank You

A great reminder on the importance of practicing gratitude on a daily basis, for both the little things and the ...
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Awakening the Heart ~ by Thich Nhat Hanh [Video]

Awakening the Heart ~ by Thich Nhat Hanh [Video]

Published on Oct 11, 2013What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment ...
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Sharing Gratitude

Sharing Gratitude

To begin this Mindfulness Exercise on Sharing Gratitude, please bring kind awareness to- why you chose this topic- how your belly, ...
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Food for the heart

Food for the Heart

Here Is Your Free Ebook:https://mindfulnessexercises.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/chah_food_for_the_heart.pdfjDetachment Within ActivityGiven at Wat Pah Pong during the rains retreat, 1977.Take a look at the ...
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Self-Compassion & Our Common Humanity Kristin Neff

Self Compassion & Our Common Humanity

In this video, Kristin Neff talks about self-compassion and our common humanity. She has developed an 8-week program on self-compassion ...
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David Richo

When Love Meets Fear [Audio]

When love meets fear, by David Richo:Welcome to our day free from the fears that happen when love walks in ...
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All Forgiveness Is Self Forgiveness by Frank Ostaseski

All Forgiveness is Self Forgiveness

Frank Ostaseski, Founder of Metta Institute, talks about the power of forgiveness. Forgive because all forgiveness is ultimately self-forgiveness ...
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Lesson from Nature

Loving Kindness for Our Benefactor [Audio]

Guided Loving Kindness Meditation for our Benefactor, by Anushka Fernandopulle:Meta-practice, we’ll start with what’s easiest. And even where it seems ...
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loving kindness meditation

Loving Kindness Meditation

This meditation is the loving-kindness meditation by Kristin Neff. It's meant to generate feelings of goodwill and kindness both for ...
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Sylvia Boorstein

Cultivating The Heart of Inclusivity [Audio]

Cultivating The Heart of Inclusivity by Sylvia Boorstein:So, here’s a story. Sometime in the last decade, at the time of ___, ...
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Jack Kornfield: Forgiveness Meditation

Jack Kornfield: Forgiveness Meditation

Forgiveness of others, forgiveness of yourselfTo practice forgiveness meditation, let yourself sit comfortably, allowing your eyes to close and your ...
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Loving-Kindness, Compassion, and Mindfulness

We have all heard stories about the power of love. No matter what form it comes in, love has the ability to inspire, heal, uplift, and encourage us, even during the heaviest times. But what is this force of love really? What is it in its truest sense? We often hear loving phrases passed around such as “unconditional love” and “loving-kindness,” but it is not always clear how these universal notions of love can be applied to our everyday lives amidst the challenges, hardships, and emotions we all face. As we begin to look more closely at what is meant by words like loving-kindness and unconditional love, we come to better understand what these notions of love refer to and how their essence blossoms alongside our mindfulness practice.

Understanding the Nature of Love

To help to better understand what is meant by unconditional love, it proves useful to first break these associated terms down into simple definitions. From there, we can expand upon these definitions to get a better sense of what unconditional love is and what it is not.

There are a variety of terms we might hear used when it comes to heart-based mindfulness practices. They might be considered synonymous because of the fact that they all point towards the same universal truth that resides in the heart and in all living things. However, there are small differences that exist between their definitions and what they each point to.

Compassion

Compassion is our ability to feel for the suffering of others, and to be moved by their experiences. It is a heartfelt experience of having genuine care and concern for what another person is going through.

Loving-Kindness

Known as metta in the Pali language, loving-kindness is a practice of cultivating compassion, understanding, and love for all living things, beginning with oneself. It is a practice of the Buddhist tradition that guides us to uncover our innate capacity of unconditional love.

Unconditional Love

Unconditional love is the force to which all heart-centered practices point. It is an acknowledgment that beneath everything that lives on the surface, there exists a universal current of love beneath. This notion asks us to love each moment and the people in it exactly as they are.

Unconditional love, compassion, and loving-kindness meditation does not require us to condone or accept any and all behavior, particularly abuse. Abuse should never be tolerated. What these practices do require of us is that we open our hearts a little bit further to our everyday interactions and associated reactions that separate us from others. Heart-centered mindfulness practice asks us to move further into the underlying oneness that binds us. Even when a relationship feels strained, whether that relationship is within ourselves or with another, these forces call us to inquire more deeply than the manner by which the conditioned mind habitually moves due to our conditioning.

Unconditional love and compassion, when practiced through either loving-kindness meditation or another heart-based practice, simply asks us to engage with the world through an open heart, rather than through the mind we are so accustomed to unconsciously engaging. It asks us to let go of the rational, analytic mind and return to a sense of openness within, a place that is better equipped to help us understand the root of whatever conflict is arising. Through consciously embracing these forces during meditation, or during any thought wave or interaction that arises, we hone in on our ability to pay attention. This is the art of mindfulness.

How Mindfulness Fuels the Heart

Mindfulness practice promotes the experience of unconditional love, inwardly and outwardly – that is, it supports the expression and deepening of positive heart-associated emotions such as compassion, empathy, understanding, connection, acceptance, and warmth.

How does mindfulness make the heart happy? There are a few studied mechanisms by which these practices work. Mindfulness practice can help us to:

  • Better understand and regulate our emotions, making it easier to find clarity within rising waves and to connect with others in the presence of whatever raw emotion is present
  • Experience increased empathy, making it easier for us to understand and share what another person is going through
  • Improve self-compassion, helping to reduce negative self-talk and increase acceptance of ourselves exactly as we are
  • Increase spirituality and/or deepen our understanding of oneness, connecting us to an intuitive knowing that we are all one and the same

It is often said that where attention goes energy flows, and no more clearly can this be witnessed than in heart-centered mindfulness practices. Heart-based meditations and mindfulness techniques help us to draw our attention away from the racing mind and into the still, open space of the heart. It calls us more deeply into the body, helping us to better understand everything that moves through us, including our own barriers to unconditional love.

Benefits of Loving-Kindness and Other Heart-Centered Meditations

The heart is the center of our being – our emotional, spiritual, and physical center. When we look towards ancient Vedic knowledge of the chakra system, we find that the heart chakra lies in the center. It is the balancing point between upward- and downward-moving energies. As such, it represents divine union between body and spirit, the visible and invisible, feminine and masculine, or between whatever other dualities can be observed.

There are countless benefits of exploring heart-centered mindfulness practices. With dedication and devotion given to the heart-space, positive benefits can include:

  • Increased resilience, both physical and emotional
  • Reduction of personal bias and negative judgment
  • Improved social interactions and relationships
  • Increased compassion and empathy
  • Reduced self-criticism and increased confidence

Heart-Centered Mindfulness Meditations and Resources

To help increase your experience of the positive benefits associated with mindfulness practice, there are a variety of tools and techniques you can consider exploring. When you are establishing your loving-kindness practice or other heart-centered meditation, it can be helpful to use free, guided recordings to keep your mind focused on the practice. Online worksheets can also help to strengthen your practice by guiding your conscious mind to the heart space and mindfully reflecting on whatever rests there.

Two simple techniques to awaken the heart are outlined below. For each of these mindfulness meditations, bring yourself to a comfortable seated position on a cushion or meditation bench, or in a straight-backed chair. Allow the shoulders to relax and the chest to open. Settle into the space by taking a few slow and steady breaths into the heart, allowing it to expand on the inhalation and soften on the exhalation. Once you are settled, you may begin.

Simple Heart-Based Mindfulness Meditation

  • Beginning by drawing your awareness deeply into the body by holding your attention on the natural flow of your breath. Follow each inhalation and each exhalation, noting any sensations present as the air moves along its path.
  • After a minute or two of breath focus, draw your attention to your stomach. Notice the way energy seems to flow alongside your shift in attention, perhaps witnessing the belly softening, rising, and falling more completely than before. Breathe into the belly for another minute, allowing yourself to come into a state of complete relaxation.
  • Finally, draw your awareness to the heart center. Allow the chest to expand as you breathe into the entirety of the lungs. Let the breath, as it moves through the heart space, be your anchor when thoughts arise.
  • Whenever the mind becomes entranced by a thought or story, simply observe it for a moment with unconditional compassion and acceptance, and then gently guide the thought down to the heart space. Resume focus on this area of the body – on this energetic center of your entire being. Allow the heart to expand in silent power as the mind subsides.
  • Sit with this for a minimum of ten or fifteen minutes, or for longer if you are comfortable with this practice. When you are ready to come back to the outer world, take a moment to offer gratitude to yourself for this practice. Then, draw your awareness to the physical body for a few breaths and then slowly open your eyes.

Loving-Kindness Meditation

  • Once you are grounded into the space you are in, take a few more moments to draw your awareness to the center of your chest. Take a few more deep breaths here.
  • Begin the practice by bringing your own self to mind, exactly as you are. Spend a few moments opening your heart to yourself and, once you are focused, silently speak the following words to offer yourself deep love and compassion:
    May you be loved, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be at peace.
  • Repeat this series of phrases two more times, allowing yourself to be bathed in your own capacity for unconditional love and acceptance. Take your time you need to sit with these words.
  • When you are ready, allow the image of yourself to melt away and prepare to repeat this practice with three additional people in heart and mind:
    Someone with whom you are close
    Someone to whom you feel neutral
    Someone with whom you have challenges
  • For each of these people, take a few moments to bring them to mind and then heart, repeating the same series of words three times:
    May you be loved, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be at peace.
  • Take your time with each individual, granting them the time and space to be held unconditionally.
  • When you are ready, let the last image fade away and then bring the whole world to your awareness, repeating the same set of words three times:
    May you be loved, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be at peace.
  • Let all images dissolve as you rest in silence for a few more moments. Allow the energy of unconditional love to pass through every cell of the body before slowly returning your attention to the world around you.

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