Ahalia Persaud is a Simmons RA. In her short exposé she explores the use of meditation in managing the stress of college life!
Have you ever heard of the Loving-Kindness meditation or metta? This is a specific kind of love that is used in many religious traditions, as a form of love distinguished by acts of kindness. I have encountered this practice through Buddhist teachings when I took the course, Birth and Death with the Chair and Professor of Sociology, Becky Thompson.
My experience with this specific Loving-Kindness exercise may be different than the ones you will find on the Internet, so I want to share it with you.
In the beginning of class, we would start off with a guided meditation, a 10-minute 'Who Am I' exercise, and then the Loving-Kindness practice. I will remind you that we started this on the first day of classes, with people we knew or never seen before. It was an experience, I never encountered before.
Anyway, during the Loving-Kindness exercise we would be sitting face-to-face and knee-to-knee with a classmate and look into each other's eyes. Sounds uncomfortable right? And it was totally uncomfortable, but it was very powerful. You can only know and feel this power and uncomfortability, if you truly experience it.
I would say try this out with someone you love, dislike, want to get to know better or understand. If you have the courage to do this meditation, I encourage you to do it this way because you learn about someone else, yourself and what you both have to offer to the world and to each other.
Just before you dive right into this you should take a scan of your body and mind with a 3-minute guided meditation and you can find this on Youtube, Pandora or iTunes. Then when you are ready, you and the other person with will talk about who you are for five minutes each without interruption, response or questions. (It sounds intense, but you get used to it.) After you have gathered all of this information from yourself and the other person, you will move onto the Loving-Kindness.
As I said before, there are many versions of this Loving-Kindness meditation, so you can find them all over. However, the first person to ever write a version down is environmental activist, author and scholar of Buddhism, Joanna Macy. So, I dedicate this experience to all of you and hope that you will create your own Loving-Kindness, experience the Loving-Kindness with guided videos or writings and find love within yourself and share kindness with people around you.