Home Green About Blog A nonreligious path of loving-kindness and mindfulness           

Love thy neighbor sounds like a great idea, but how do you love someone you don't actually like? Loving-kindness practice is a powerful way to do exactly this, to generate positive feelings toward anyone, even if they're not all that lovable. And if you're someone who is self-critical, you can apply loving-kindness towards yourself.

This is not as hard as it sounds, once you learn the trick. First, you evoke warm feelings by thinking Watching a sad movie can stimulate oxytocin release. This shows that the other person does not need to be physically present for oxytocin release to occur. about a person who loves you. When you feel love, the brain releases a chemical called oxytocin, with effects that can linger for as long as 20 minutes.

The trick in loving-kindness practice is that you now turn your attention toward someone who irritates you. But since you're still aglow with warm feelings,Since studies that demonstrate oxytocin release typically involve blood tests, and no such study has been published on loving-kindness practice as far as we know, we can't say definitively that loving-kindness practice causes the release of oxytocin. Nevertheless, this is consistent with the evidence and no alternative mechanism that would produce these effects is known. you feel a surprising warmth when contemplating this person. Although the feelings do fade, you can recall the experience the next time you meet this person, and in that moment feel loving-kindness rather than the usual antagonism.

Please watch the video to the right. In the video, we employ alternative wording developed by the Humanist Mindfulness Group in place of the traditional phrases.

If you would like to learn more how this practice checks out scientifically, click Deeper on Loving-kindness. If you're ready to learn how to carry loving-kindness forward throughout your day, select Next.

Humanist Loving-Kindness Meditation (7 min. 26 sec.)