Finally, a successful meditation exercise! I found the exercise to be very beneficial for my mind. I enjoyed taking the time to really rest in the concept of loving-kindness and reflect upon its value and application. In the beginning portion that said to think about someone who I love, I thought about my Savior, Jesus, and was brought to tears remembering His greatness, significant love for me and everyone, and the sacrifice He made to show that love. He is the epitome of loving-kindness. I was also overcome with emotion at the thought of the difficulties of a good friend, who is suffering greatly financially since the economic crash. My deep-breathing and well-wishing turned into intercessory prayer for her and her peace. I know this time is very difficult for her. At the end, I was struck by the mentioning of enemies in context of "suffering." It is so, so, so important to always remember that we are all people who are suffering and hurt. It is out of our suffering that we respond in negativity and disrespect to others. When we keep this in mind, and see people for who they really are (people who are hurt, scared, and lonely) we can express loving-kindness towards them no matter what they do. It reminds me of Jesus' words on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). It was a great exercise.
A "Mental Workout" is the process of intentionally training the mind to grow and become more capable, just as we would if we were intending to train our physical body through physical exercise (Dacher, 2006, p 64). An athlete does not just sit idly and expect that their body would become physically capable of great feats of strength or efforts of endurance, but diligently works to persistently challenge their body to test and challenge its limits, reconfiguring them regularly as they are redefined. Research indicates that the practice of the contemplation helps to move our minds to an "expanded consciousness and...healing capacities" (Dacher, 2006, p 65), which has been proven empirically through the millenia of Eastern medicine practice. Implementing these mental workouts on a regular basis, whether through utilizing audio recordings such as the one provided in the class, which walk the listener through a guided contemplation, or engaging in a personalized time of contemplation and focus, would be highly beneficial for training my mind to act in loving-kindness and with wisdom. This is the follow-through, or application, of "As a man thinketh, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). The more I meditate on and feed my mind with the intention and practice of living in a way of loving-kindness and wisdom, the more naturally those behaviors will flow out of me. If I focus my mind on frivilous, selfish, or anxious thoughts, I will react to situations instead of intentionally responding as needed. These practices are definitely a workout for the mind to get ready for the daily battlefield. I don't just want to win the battle; I want to win the war.
Dacher, E. (2006). Psychospiritual Flourishing. In Integral Health The Path to Human Flourishing (p 64-65). Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications, Inc.