A benefit of mindfulness meditation is that you can respond to your emotions and situations with more grace and with less regrets. As you “mellow out” over time, you might not express strong emotions. Since you don’t react with a knee-jerk response to every situation, some may mistakenly think you are emotionally cold. To them, you’re not showing emotions. That can seem real creepy to others!
In my life, I have been compared to a Star Trek Vulcan. That’s a person who is logical yet doesn’t show emotion. Other times, I’ve been called a robot. I even was described by a former boss as “an ice-man…but in a good way.” In college, a friend would get three inches from my face and ask me, “Does this bother you?” just to see how I would respond. I would reply with a smile that I couldn’t see her face and thus couldn’t communicate effectively.
To counter this natural concern from others and put people at ease, one thing I learned quickly in life was that it’s important to smile. Whether or not you meditate, smiling is a key to success. As a result of this approach and my love for Batman, I was referred to by some in college as The Joker’s good twin.
Even if you smile, people can tell that you’re special in that you don’t thoughtlessly react to things. They won’t know what to make of it. People can get scared of what they don’t understand or trust. Just know that they are trying to understand you and may not have a good way of relating to someone who is so centered and balanced.
To help with this situation, I use a meditation practice that stokes the fires of compassion and well wishing for my fellow human being as well as myself. This practice is called Lovingkindness.
During my teenage years, I had a religious upbringing. So, my Lovingkindness practice included God. Since I was taught that Jesus loved us unconditionally and humans lived better together with such a neighborly philosophy, unconditional love was the foundation for my practice.
With my palms facing up and my arms out wide, I would recite to myself over and over again the following:
- I love myself unconditionally.
- I love the divine unconditionally.
- Through the love between myself and the divine, I love everyone and everything and allow that love to come back unto me.
Since the rhythm of “the divine” felt better, I used “the divine” for God.
Since I had read that imagining a great silver glowing light would magnetically draw people to me, I imagined that too. As the saying goes, don’t believe everything you read. I will say though that the imagery of light connecting me to heaven and then on out to everything else was truly effective in giving rise to a sense of connection.
Back then, step three of using God (the divine) to be the bridge between myself and connecting myself to everything felt critical. Although I believed in people, I felt it was too hard to connect to people without divine intervention and I needed that bridge. Nowadays, I have a deeper understanding of life, the known and the unknown, and our interconnection with all of it.
These days, I use a suggestion that Sharon Salzberg made in the fantastic meditation iPhone app called 10% Happier. As a result, my new phrases are verbatim what she shared:
- May I be safe
- Be Happy
- Be healthy
- Live with ease
The “May I be safe” changes to “May you be safe” or “May all be safe” when I want to switch what to focus on. From my own experience and others, I’ve learned that you can use whatever words you want as long as you are consistent.
To be clear, one still has emotions when meditating. It’s just that you’ll have a superpower of seeing an emotion and choosing your response. Your superpower will scare some people. If you do a Lovingkindness meditation practice, people will be able to tell, they will trust you more, and you will enjoy the benefits that come with it.