Saturday, August 25, 2012

Benefits of Loving Kindness Practice for Aging Wisely

      Going through the stages of aging is a challenge for all of us and one that we’re willing to make, but we’d probably like to do it a bit better than we are.  If we’re fully engaged in this process, then finding some tools or techniques to help us is a priority.  We’ll locate others willing to share useful information and teach us the skills associated with it when we really investigate our options.   For example, as the tools of concentration and mindfulness help us to focus on and hold arising and passing fearful thoughts, emotions, and feelings under a laser-like gaze, they are combined with the valuable technique of loving kindness.
      Resulting from this process are some benefits that make it particularly important for those of us who wish to age wisely.  First, the approach of loving kindness balances and softens the outcomes of concentration and mindfulness.  This can be quite helpful since they often uproot some difficult, unresolved emotions or feelings, which may take time to process.  Next, being kind to ourselves can overcome the feeling of isolation.  Such a benefit, for example, offers a hand of security to people who are alone after having lost a spouse or someone else dear to them.  One sleeps better and awakens more easily with fewer fears if he or she feels the comfort of not having been abandoned.  Third, when we become committed to the force of loving kindness, then people know they can trust us.  Obviously, this makes it easier to have more friends and loving relatives who come to visit.  Next, as we sincerely progress in the use of this technique, we begin to notice a facial radiance, peace of mind, smiles and good humor that weren’t there before.  Life gradually starts to show us new possibilities, and we find ourselves adapting to the stages of aging, having become a bit wiser for our efforts.  Finally, we begin to embrace life in ways that were not possible before, even seeing the goodness in others and finding that in return.  Compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity have, for example, now made it into our lives.  How wonderful!
      Combining loving kindness with its accompanying techniques puts a beneficial, balancing, and softening cap on a useful practice for people in the stages of aging.  The emotions, feelings, and thoughts that once seemed to hold one’s life captive have now become manageable.  And we begin to see how some of the properties of loving kindness, such as compassion, may be extended in additional practices.  In conclusion, we may realize that the employment of concentration, mindfulness, and loving kindness is not only quite useful but also beneficial as a complete program for wellness in growing older and wiser.  How satisfying that would be!

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