Excerpt from “Happiness” by Thich Nhat Hanh
This is a love meditation adapted from the Visuddhimagga (The Path of Purification) by Buddhaghosa, a fifth-century C.E. systematization of the Buddha’s teachings.
May I be peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit.
May I be safe and free of injury.
May I be free from anger, afflictions, fear, and anxiety.
May I learn to look at myself with eyes of understanding and love.
May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.
May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving, and delusion in myself.
May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.
May I be able to live fresh, solid, and free.
May I be free of attachment and aversion, but not be indifferent.
Begin practicing this love meditation on yourself (“I”). Until you are able to love and take care of yourself, you cannot be of much help to others. After that, practice on others (May he/she/they be peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit.) — first on some you like like, then on someone neutral to you, then on someone you love, and finally on someone the mere thought of whom makes you suffer.
The willingness to love is not yet love. We look deeply, with all our being, in order to understand. We don’t just repeat the words, or imitate others, or strive after some ideal. The practice of love meditation is not auto-suggestion. We don’t just say, “I love myself. I love all beings.” We look deeply at our body, our feelings, our perceptions, our mental formations, and our consciousness, and in just a few weeks, our aspiration to love will become a deep intention. Love will enter our thoughts, our words, and our actions, and we will notice that we have become peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit, safe and free from injury, and free from anger, afflictions, fear, and anxiety.
By practicing mindful living, we are able to deal with all the unwholesome, negative states of mind that dwell in us and rob us of our peace an happiness. Our love is translated into effective action.