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Real Happiness Challenge Week 4:LovingKindness Subway Walk: Embracing Ourselves And Others

The New York City Subway is not exactly the first place that comes to mind when we hear the phrase “Lovingkindness.” Lovingkindness, or “Metta,” is a meditation practice that captures the expression of tenderness towards oneself and other beings. It’s the theme of the week in Sharon Salzberg’s 28-Day meditation challenge, and I decided that I would listen to that walking Lovingkindness meditation while on the subway to see what would happen.

I repeated her phrases to myself:


“May I be well.”

“May I be peaceful.”

And was instructed to add a phrase of my choice so

I added: “May I be free from suffering.”


I repeated these phrases for myself as the focus of the practice. I found a gentleness around the intense busyness I had felt all week. I softened to the idea that it would be ok for some tasks to wait in order to ease my tight muscles suffering.


I then followed the instruction to practice for those that crossed my path on the subway by saying the lovingkindness phrases for them in my mind. This was really powerful. Man in a suit with the briefcase, “May you be well. May you be peaceful. May you be free from suffering.” Loud woman gossiping to her friend, “May you be well. May you be peaceful. May you be free from suffering.” I noticed how much more aware I was of people in general, and also how connected to their humanity I really felt. I wondered what life would be like if more people travelled the subways in this way.


Salzberg says that the Repetition of these phrases are the ”basis of connection” with ourselves and others. I really experienced this deeper connection with my fellow New Yorkers on my usually mundane subway ride.


For more on Lovingkindness practice and bodhichitta (heartmind) check out Pema Chodron’s article here


To learn more about the blogger Adrienne Glasser and her work combining IFS and Mindfulness click here


IDP is participating in lineage mentor Sharon Salzberg's REAL HAPPINESS Meditation Challenge.  This 28-day practice follows the the program outlined in Sharon’s New York Times bestseller, Real Happiness for the entire month of February. We encourage everyone to join us; since 2011, thousands have participated in this challenge which will help you develop your meditation with support from the entire community.

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