Loving Kindness

Loving-kindness was originally taught as an antidote to fear.

As parents of a premature baby, this is a way to directly address a basic fear that almost all parents carry while they have their baby in the NICU, the fear that “something will go wrong”. Fear can be present in lesser or greater degrees, arise unexpectedly, magnified from past experiences or manifest as a combination.  For some, there is fear carried over from a high risk pregnancy. For others, there was no sign of prematurity, yet it just happened.

This open and flexible meditation uses images, words, and feelings to evoke a sense of friendliness and goodwill toward oneself and others, starting with your baby. There are no “right” phrases in a Loving-Kindness practice, you can choose and add more as you wish.

To begin, find a posture that allows the body to be in as much ease as possible. Take a few deep soft breaths to let your body settle. Bring your attention to your breath, and begin to silently say your chosen phrases in rhythm with the breath. You can also experiment with just having your attention settle in the phrases, without using the anchor of the breath. Feel the meaning of what you are saying, yet without trying to force anything. Sometimes, having your eyes closed can help to facilitate ease. If that’s not comfortable, then allow the eyes to be open and gazing softly at a singular point.

To your baby:

This is a practice that you can do when you are at the NICU or when you are not with your baby. If you can’t touch your baby yet, this is a way to connect with your baby and give a big hug from the heart.

Take a few moments to settle and to tune into the breath and bring your baby to your mind.

 Repeat silently and slowly:

“May you be safe and protected,

May you grow strong,

May you be healthy and at ease,

May you feel  surrounded by love.”

To You:

Choose the phrases that resonate to you and repeat them silently as many times as you want. Repeat silently and slowly:

“May I be safe and protected,

May I be well,

May I be healthy in body and mind,

May I be at ease and in peace.”

If it is hard to offer Loving Kindness to yourself, try doing it first to other people that you care about, your baby maybe, your family and include yourself within the group.

Create a Circle of Kindness

Think about  the people that you care about, family, friends, who are close to you in this moment. Take a few moments to settle and to tune into the breath.

Repeat silently and slowly:

“May we be safe and protected,

May we be well,

May we be healthy in body and mind,

May we be at ease and in peace.”

Continue repeating them as long as you like, adding people to your circle and always include yourself.

If you want, include people that may not be as close to you but are present in your life right now, like members of the medical team, other parents that also have their babies in the NICU.