Lovingkindness Meditation: Consider the Ancestors

There are many ways to practice loving kindness meditation. We can direct lovingkindness toward our loved ones, our enemies, the entire world. But vitally, we also direct lovingkindness to ourselves.

It can be hard to access lovingkindness for ourselves, but I’ve found a way that’s been especially helpful for me: Imagine a loving being. It could be anyone. It could be the Buddha, some other divine being. I imagine an ancestral mother. Maybe try it. Imagine her, some early ancestor of yours, who now, by some miracle of the universe, is able to see you, countless generations later, and understand that you are of her. She is kind. She sees you in your daily life. She sees your efforts and knows your failings. She sees your navigations of the beautiful and foreign modern world you’re growing up in. And she regards you lovingly. She doesn’t really understand our society but she sees your patterns, good and bad, and she cares for you. She wishes for your safety and happiness. She regards you with a mixture of fascination, pride, and love.

There’s something about this idea of the ancestral mother that resonates with me. During my lovingkindness meditations, it’s easy to imagine this figure as loving me. And it’s easier for me to accept her love. Something about the time and space, the zoomed out nature of our relationship.

Maybe this makes sense to you, maybe not. Either way, I encourage you to experiment with your lovingkindness meditations. It can be difficult to keep them feeling fresh and genuine 😘

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