Metta Bhavana is the original name of this practice originating from the Buddhist tradition, which can be practised by anyone regardless of religious affiliation. Metta means (non-romantic) ‘love’, kindness, or friendliness: hence ‘Loving Kindness’ for short. Bhavana means ‘development’ or ‘cultivation’. Research shows that Loving Kindness meditation has numerous benefits from reducing self-criticism and depressive symptoms (Shahar et al 2014) to increasing positive emotions such as joy, love, gratitude, contentment and hope (Frederickson et al 2008)
“Time is precious. We’re given a certain number of heartbeats. You don’t know how many you’re gonna get – I don’t know how many I’m gonna get, so I think you’ve really gotta live every one of those to its fullest.” – Dr Kathy Magliato
It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that today is Valentine’s Day. Maybe it’s a day you look forward to or a day you loathe in proportion to the amount of Valentine’s you do or do not receive or your relationship status. But love, Real Love is so much bigger. It’s just that a day like today can make many feel as though it’s only romantic love that counts.
At the risk of sounding like a ‘rom-com’ cliché it’s true that love is all around us in many forms and sometimes in the most unexpected of places, if only we choose to be aware.
For a slightly different take on Valentine’s Day I wanted to share this 5 minute video with you where cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Kathy Magliato explains how love affects us physically, how being a heart surgeon has impacted her own feelings about love and also why she believes the soul resides in the heart. This also ties in with the words of Dr. Mimi. Guarneri who is the author of my current Book of the Month, ‘The Heart Speaks’.