Explore this loving-kindness practice variation to cultivate more ease and openness within the moment-to-moment unfolding of life.
One of the hardest parts of life for me, and I think for everyone I know, is that it’s always changing—and sometimes in unpleasant, unpredictable, and unplanned ways. And when changes happen like this, things that we don’t want to happen—someone we love dies or we have a breakup or a divorce, maybe an injury or an illness of ourselves or others, or even getting fired—then we struggle not only from the pain of this loss, but from the unexpected nature of it. Part of the reason for this upset is because so little is in our control.
One of the hardest parts of life for me, and I think for everyone I know, is that it’s always changing—and sometimes in unpleasant, unpredictable, and unplanned ways.
Everything is impermanent. It’s always changing, coming together and falling apart. And it’s frustrating to not be able to make things go our way. But paradoxically, when we can accept that everything is not up to us, and we stop trying to control what we can’t change or trying to predict what we can’t predict, then we can feel a lot more at ease and more open to the moment-to-moment unfolding of our lives. By accepting change, we can bring kindness to our experience, even if it’s painful and sad at times, and we can feel more at peace with changes in life.
Guided Meditation: Let Go and Accept Change
- First, find a place where you can just sit down and be still. Turn off your devices, close your eyes, and just take a few breaths. Noticing your feet, your seat, your belly. Bringing your attention to your forehead, your cheeks, your jaw, allowing sound to enter your ears, allowing taste to enter your mouth.
- Put your hand on your belly. Just notice how you feel your belly inflates as you inhale and how it contracts when you exhale.
- Call to mind someone you know who’s struggling right now. You could maybe imagine that they’re here with you, visualize them, or just have a sense of their presence. If you like, put your hand on your heart and silently offer them this phrase: May you be at peace with the changes in life. May you be at peace with the changes in life. May you be at peace with the changes in life. Continuing silently repeating this, as though you’re giving a gift to this struggling being.
- Notice: Where is your attention? If you’ve lost the connection with this struggling being, reconnect, begin again. May you be at peace with the changes in life.
- Let go of this connection with this other being. Noticing your feet, feeling your seat, relaxing your shoulder blades, bringing your attention to your breath, to the light entering through your eyelids.
- Next, put your hand on your heart and connect with yourself. You can imagine that you’re looking in the mirror, imagine yourself as a child, or just connect with your beautiful presence. Give yourself the same wisdom: May I be at peace with the changes in life. And continue here just for a minute or two, giving yourself this compassion and wisdom.
- Notice where your attention is. If you’ve lost your connection to yourself, and gently come back, reconnecting. May I be at peace with the changes in life. Just for one more minute, giving yourself this kindness. May I be at peace with the changes in life.
- Keep this connection with yourself, and now include that first being and perhaps everyone that you know and love. May we be at peace with the changes in life. May we be at peace with the changes in life.
- Expand the phrase to include all of the beings. All of the living creatures in this ecosystem we call Earth. All of us struggle with change, with loss, with impermanence. Giving your wisdom and your kindness and your good heart to all of us, including yourself. May we all be at peace with the changes in life. May everyone be at peace with the changes in life.
- When you’re ready, conclude your meditation. You can close your practice by thanking yourself for your good intention, for your beautiful heart, for these joyful efforts.
Remember that you can practice in this way whenever you need to. Stop, feel your feet, put your hand on your heart, and say to yourself, May I be at peace with the changes in life. If you’re struggling with an unexpected loss, be sure to be patient and kind with yourself, and check in with your good heart as often as possible.
While many of us lean on mindfulness to help us through times of inner and outer chaos, we can cultivate the greatest resilience through consistency in our practice, even when it doesn’t feel urgent.