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Building the Velvet Bridge…

Grief always has another chapter.

It will invite you to go deeper. Because, you see, grief has changed you. You are more sensitive. You are more aware; grief has expanded your consciousness. You are connected to the spiritual power of love.  This gives you the opportunity for a powerful transcendent connection.

Grief will ask you to write the next chapter. The next chapter inevitably leads you to become more of what you are meant to be. These opportunities to do just that arrive because you now understand that life is meaningful, short and precious. You are meant to make the most of it. You have been called to connect to deeper currents of love, joy, understanding and service.

You will recognize the invitation when it shows up. These invitations appear in a myriad of different ways: books, classes, art and music, your volunteer work, a new and compelling path presented by a teacher. It sometimes arrives through travel experiences.

These invitations most frequently appear in opportunities to help other people.  

If you choose, your loving kindness meditation will help you discover the next chapter in your life.
Begin by enhancing and amplifying the effects of the basic beginning breath practice. Again, breath meditation practices work physically, emotionally and spiritually and nothing is simpler to do or more beneficial once practiced. The list of physical benefits of mindful breathing exercises is long: it lowers blood pressure, reduces stress inducing hormones, increases blood circulation and triggers relaxation. It also aids in any task performance, especially cognitive tasks.

The spiritual benefits are priceless, but the first gift of the practice is to teach you how to focus and direct your consciousness. The vast majority of us go through each day of our lives as the unwitting passenger to our thought trains. Most of our thoughts are pointless, especially in modern life where we are constantly bombarded with meaningless stimuli, and our thoughts are easily led astray or serve no good purpose.  Many thought patterns are actually harmful: worries, anxiety-triggering hypothetical and inconsequential musings. Once you learn how to control your consciousness, you become the director of your life.

This is a wonderful and empowering place to be. You don’t just learn how to mediate and change your response to the world, but you actually discover how easy it is to alter your reality for the better. Meditation becomes the answer to a multitude of modern challenges.

A breath practice teaches you all this and more.

Here are the basics:

Sit upright. Unless you’re more comfortable lying down. Lying down is not normally recommended for meditation practices because many of us fall asleep when relaxed, but if you feel more comfortable laying down, then simply set the intention of staying awake.

Focus on the sound and feel of your breath. Inhale deeply through the nose, while expanding your breath shoulder to shoulder and down to your abdomen. Exhale slowly, with awareness. Repeat.

Invite yourself to relax on the exhale.

When your thoughts wander, and they will wander, simply return them to your breath.

Like all worthwhile things in life, you build proficiency with practice. Begin with five minutes of conscious breathing and work up to twenty. Practice throughout the day, and especially any time you feel anxiety, worry or fear, or negativity.

As you become more skilled and comfortable, add a three-second retention on the inhale. Hold your breath for three seconds at the end of the inhale. Now, as you experience the benefits of this, add a retention pause of three seconds at the end of the exhale.

Finally, practice both a retention on the inhale and one on the exhale.

This is a basic pranayama meditation practice.

Now, use this energetic breath to amplify the power of the loving kindness meditation.

At the conclusion of a meditation practice, imagine your loved one in your mind’s eye. Picture the glittering white light of your love showering over them. See them with open arms as the light falls all around them.

Relive the memory of your loved one that brings you the greatest joy. Add details. Return to the image of your loved one beneath the light. Fill your heart with this love. The feeling connects you to an energetic form of love, and to your loved one. (If you continue to practice the loving kindness meditation, you will eventually reach a point where you do not need memory triggers to connect to energetic love. You will be able to state it as a fact: I am in my love.)

Imagine this love as a glittering white light.

Think of a family member. Imagine the glittering white light cascading over this person—like the touch of Tinkerbell’s wand.  (Corny, but also visually potent.) You can magnify the energy by reliving a happy, loving memory of this person.

Send love as a glittering white light to each of your family members in turn.

Here’s an important point: Joy follows love, it always follows love. Imagine the person laughing or opening their arms with joy as the glittering light cascades over them. Stay here as long as the feelings last; as long as you feel the energy.

Let go of any troubling aspect to the personality of the person receiving the cascading white light. This is important for the practice. See each person on a soul level, or as their best self.

Now, go through your friends in this same way, seeing them at their best self as the glittering white light of love spills over and around them. Imagine them laughing as this happens, their arms flung upward in happy exhilaration of the experience.

Next, go through your co-workers, sending each of them love.

Include your neighbors and any other person in your world.

Now, think of someone else you love who is no longer with us: a grandparent, parent, child, or friend, anyone so long as you love them. Start by visiting your happiest memory of this person. Relive it in detail. When inviting our consciousness to relive a memory, it often becomes quite vivid. Emotion floods your consciousness. Send the glittering white light cascading over them.

Thank them for being in your life, for the gift of their love.

If you experience tears, a tingling sensation, or the buzzing in your ears, this is spirit answering your gift. It is a powerful experience.

No doubt, as you go through the people in your life, someone will pop into your mind whom you find it difficult to send love to—a controlling parent, a quarrelsome teenager, a troublesome neighbor (every neighborhood has at least one), an unpleasant coworker, a prickly and contentious uncle. You will discover your grief softens these feelings; this is a gift. A loving kindness meditation is the most effective tool on earth (and probably in heaven as well) to ease anger and animosity. It is more effective than a year’s worth of therapy. Most people naturally tend to focus on how the difficult person affects them, but instead try to imagine them stripped of their trouble, difficulties, personality particulars and tangles. Instead picture them as their best self. See them transformed by laughter and love as you shower them with glittering white light.

At first, you might find it hard to send ‘difficult’ people love. (You don’t ‘love’ them and that’s that.) If you experience this, just imagine the white light as blessings. Lift them up—they need it. You will be flabbergasted at how this spiritual practice manifests in the material world.

At the end of this meditation, imagine a cascade of love falling over you.

Practice metta-meditation every day, then twice a day.

On the material plane, this has amazing benefits. The practice alters your consciousness in a powerful way. You are literally rewiring your brain to give and receive love. Love, the most meaningful experience on the planet, becomes an important aspect of your life.

Within two weeks of practicing a metta-meditation, people begin to respond to you differently. It can be as simple as the warmth of their smile, a lingering touch, or an unexpected intimacy. Words cannot convey how much magic there is in this practice.

Metta-meditation changes you at your core. These changes are everywhere you look. The effect is dramatic.
Do people actually receive the love energetically or are you somehow changed from the experience? The answer is—both are true. You are becoming a conductor of love.

Keep in mind, too, you can practice this anytime, anywhere.

Miracles happen when we open our hearts to the energetic power of love.

You see the divine spark everywhere, in everyone and every being..
 
Next, at the conclusion to your meditation, ask a question or seek help in any area of your life. You are asking your higher consciousness; your loved one and spirit team; the light; God. (Contrary to many popular and ancient beliefs, names do not matter.) Ask for a deeper understanding of an issue or for more information; ask for help with a relationship or a difficult task; ask for clarification on an important decision; request guidance in a particular area. Be as specific as possible. Your specificity helps spirit provide the right answer for you.

Importantly, you can ask for the next step in your spiritual awakening.

Spirit will always answer. Your higher consciousness kicks into greater awareness.  You will be directed to the answers you need. There are infinite ways this happens—it is part of the adventure.

This beneficial and powerful practice alters your consciousness over time and expands your understanding and experience of love. Energetic love is boundless, expansive and infinite, like the universe itself. Your higher consciousness starts directing you to better choices. It also makes you aware of negative thoughts and their consequences; you begin eliminating unhelpful thoughts. You become more compassionate, sensitive, kind and loving and open the doors to previously unknown abilities inside yourself.

It strengthens the bridge to your loved one.