4 Altruistic Love Meditations

By The Spiritual Explorer | Published 15 June, 2016

Dear Spiritual Explorer: Sometimes I get weary of my endless prayers for things I don’t really need and think that I am just thinking of myself. Can you give me some ideas of altruistic love meditations? Lance D., Orlando, FL

Why Meditate?

Dear Lance: While not all prayers are self-serving, I truly know how easy it is to get to a place where you feel so burdened by your problems that you seem to be focused on prayers for yourself and you forget others in similarly difficult situations. They say that is the difference between prayers and meditations. Prayer asks for relief and meditation asks to hear wisdom. However, in the book Why Meditate, I actually happened upon a chapter devoted to Altruistic Love Meditations.

Defining Altruistic Love

I think it would be good if we defined altruism. I know that since we inhabit a body, that it is very difficult to think of others outside of what Eckhart Tolle would call our “pain body.” That pain body seems to encompass and contain so much pain inside of us that it sometimes seems impossible to reach out to anybody else in their pain. As we proceed along in our spiritual path, and concentrate on the chakras above the heart, suddenly we are brought into universal love and regard for others. It is as if our prayers become intertwined with the good wishes for others. When that occurs, it becomes difficult to think only of oneself when so many are suffering.

We no longer think of ourselves as separate beings, but understand how our joy and happiness rely upon others being equally if not in joy, but at peace. It’s the old story of how we are all pieces of each on the path and what hurts me will also hurt you and vice versa. John Donne, the great poet, wrote in his famous poem, “Man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”

And now for four altruistic meditations:

Meditation 1: Altruistic love

Choose someone for whom you feel great love. With your entire heart wish that person will find happiness and the causes of happiness. Then extend this wish to all those you are close to, then to those you know less well, then progressively to all beings. Finally, extend this wish to your personal enemies and to the enemies of humanity. In this way, embrace the totality of beings with a feeling of limitless love

Meditation 2: Compassion

Imagine that someone dear to you has been the victim of a terrible accident. Let yourself enter into an immense feeling of love for this person. Imagine taking her gently into your arms and that waves of love are streaming forth from you and pouring towards her. Wish from the bottom of your heart for her to survive, be healed and cease to suffer.

Now extend this compassion to other people close to you, then, to all beings, saying, “May all beings be free from suffering and the cause of suffering.”

Meditation 3: Joy in the Happiness of Others

Rejoice from the bottom of your heart in the accomplishments of people who are very successful and realize their aspirations. Wish for these good qualities not to wane, but to continue to flourish. This is a remedy for envy and jealousy, which are reflections of the inability to rejoice in the happiness of others.

Meditation 4: Equanimity

Impartiality is an essential element in the three preceding meditations, because the wish or all beings to be delivered from suffering has to be universal and not dependent on a personal bias. Realize that all beings, whether they are your dearest intimates, strangers or enemies want to avoid suffering. While you do not intend to passively tolerate their attitudes and harmful actions, you look on them as very disturbed and deluded people. Now with the same goodwill you feel towards those who are close to you, you wish for all ignorance and destructive feelings to be eradicated from their consciousness.

When one thinks of altruism, one sometimes forgets the many ways, utilizing prayer or meditation, that one might bring about change in the lives of others, thus enabling us to feel the fruits of our labors.

If you have a question about “altruistic love,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer

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