Uncovering the ‘Love’ in Loving Kindness, pt. II

How the practice encourages a kinder inner roommate relationship

In the first part of my story, I told you about how I involuntarily taught my inner roommate mindfulness and Loving Kindness, which resulted in my reclaiming a sense of peaceful spaciousness and connection internally. The surprise came first because I had no idea what practising daily would do for me — it’s not like I had a clear view of the benefits. And also those benefits of increased inner calm and connection were something I never knew I needed, yet, what a gift they are. 

You may wonder, what does inner connection mean? Let me see if I can help you get a sense of it.

If you are listening to this story, then close your eyes. If you are reading, then I invite you to read the following lines with a sense of going inwards — not quite blocking out the external world, but collecting your attention to focus it within. Or to click on the listen button!

Are you ready? 


Start by finding a suitably comfortable position. You can sit on a chair, feet on the ground, leaning against the backrest; you can sit cross-legged on a cushion, or if you want to treat yourself to extra support, you can lie down flat on a sofa, a yoga mat, or whatever suits you. In any case, do start by finding a position that conjures a sense of being both energised and relaxed. 

Coming into stillness, close your eyes or, if that doesn’t feel comfortable, lower them and rest your gaze gently on a spot a couple of feet in front of you.

Let yourself relax, and for the next few moments, bring your focus to your breath, wherever you find it is the clearest: is it at your nostrils? Or is it around the chest, maybe connecting with the movements of expansion and contraction of the inhale and exhale? or is it in the abdomen? Let yourself find this anchor, and concentrate on sensing your body inhale and exhale. Be with the breath just for another minute or so. 

Now bring your attention to your inner experience. Use your inner gaze to access a different form of vision to imagine the home of your dreams. 

Let your mind wander for a minute. No need to hold back or anchor into reality here. Let your imagination take you wherever it wants to go. Your ideal home is yours to conjure, it can look like anything, be anywhere. 

What does your dream place to live look like? 

For some of us, it may be a converted farm in the countryside, a villa surrounded by a beautiful garden, for others it may be a condo on the beach, an alpine chalet, a city apartment or a brick townhouse. Hey, it could be a castle! Whatever floats your boat. Ha, maybe your ideal home is a boat!

Can you picture your ideal home in your mind’s eye? 

Do you have it now? Good. I’d like you to go in for a close up. 

Can you explore its facade, its surroundings? What does the road or path that leads to it look like? What is it made of? Is it busy or quiet? What noises can you hear? 

Now imagine that you are moving towards the front door. Reach for the door knob, see yourself opening the door and stepping through.

As you look around, notice that it’s everything you want it to be. It’s your dream home after all. The interiors, the modulation of the space, the ceiling height, the materials it’s made of, the texture and colours of the walls, the flooring. And of course, the furnishings.

Explore away, walking from room to room. Can you notice the quality of the light, maybe the temperature? Is there an outside space, perhaps a terrace or garden or balcony? A park? Or a beach? 

As you wander around your ideal home, realise how it is completely perfect for you — for your needs, your family’s, your friends’, perhaps even your future plans that only you know about. 

Imagine it in the middle of winter, on a cold or wet and windy day, and notice how comfortable and cosy it feels. 

Now imagine what it feels like in a storm, or in the middle of the summer heat, and somehow notice that it always feels just right. For you. 

Now choose a spot in the home that feels good to take a moment’s rest, and find yourself taking a seat.

Ask yourself: how does this place make me feel? 

Safe? Spacious? Relaxed? Grounded? Calm? Protected? Bright or light? Go ahead, you don’t need to choose any of my words, simply ask yourself the question again: how does this place make me feel? 

As the answer comes, notice if you can locate or connect to a felt sense of this dream home in your body, a physical sensation that reflects the feeling. 

If you feel balanced, what does balanced feel like for you? Safe? Spacious? Grounded? Where does groundedness or calm manifest in your body? Is it a feeling of expansion at the chest, a sense of relaxation, an openness at the heart or tingling in and around the body, the abdomen, the pelvis? 

There is no right or wrong answer, as we all have our very own body-mind connections.  

Now concentrate as best you can and try to engrave the memory of how this place makes you feel, taking one last look around.

Imagine that your perfect home is available to you anytime you want to go there. You can visit whenever you need. There you can unplug and resource, play, connect to yourself. When there, all your needs are met. 

Now notice that someone else is occupying your place — you’re actually not alone. And this person behaves like your shadow: everywhere you go, they go. You can barely get a moment’s rest. This other being is talking to you, at you, constantly. This roommate can be at once boring, mundane, critical and irritating.  

Then notice that while at times this person offers a relatively neutral narrative of your life (talking about the weather, reviewing your to-do list, talking about future plans), they also know what buttons to push to set you off, to hurt you, to make you feel small and unsafe. 

Condescending, irritated, or downright hateful, this roommate is with you, forever where you are. While there is no escaping them, notice that they have the capacity to turn what was once your dream home into the stuff nightmare thrillers are made of. 

Remember the feeling you had on your own in your dream home? The safety, the spaciousness, or whatever had come to mind? 

How does it feel like now, with the newfound awareness of the presence of your life-commentator, your ever-present roommate? Only you know what this person tells you, so now ask yourself this:

If this were a real-life scenario, if this roommate were a real person, would you choose to live with them? Or rather, let them live with you for one day? Would you introduce this person to your friends? Socialise with them? 

Most of us would answer an emphatic ‘No!’ to these questions. 

But if you had no choice but to tolerate this person never leaving your side, what tactics would you choose to ignore them: sports, TV, shopping, drinking, eating, staring at your phone, working, or forever scrolling your social media of choice? 

I think I speak for most of us when I say we’d be doing whatever works to distract from (or drown!) the roommate and to get away from this weird, occasionally depressing and anxiety-producing living arrangement.

And one last question — again, imagining this is real life and not make-believe:

How would the relationship with this ever-present roommate affect you as you show up and interact with others in the world? At home? At work? How would it interfere with your life goals, from the smallest to the biggest dreams?

Leaving the metaphor behind, let’s reflect on this for a moment. 

What is life like when we get a breather from our discursive mind, our painful or intense inner roommate? 

What is life like when we find calm and peacefulness?

What is life like when we can inhabit our inner abode stress-free?

When we can resource, refresh, before we do it all again — you know, this experience we share – living this human life? 


“Who is your enemy?” said the Buddha. “Mind is your enemy. No one can harm you more than a mind untrained. Who is your friend? Mind is your friend. No one can assist you and care for you better than your mind well-trained. Not even the most loving mother and father.”

We all have an inner abode. And we all share it with our inner roommate, the discursive mind that we all hear, most of the day, everyday. Among the boring things it may say, or the upsetting things it may tell us about ourselves and our experience, this inner voice also has moments of wisdom, ideas, insights. It’s not (at least I hope it’s not) a solely negative relationship. Though thank god for the silence that comes with sleep, right?

We can disconnect by using distractions, such as the tactics we considered in the visualisation practice, and there are plenty of others. Sometimes, when the inner voice is too harsh, too shameful, too angst-producing, we turn to harder stuff to numb it out: gaming, drugs, food, etc. 

Whatever painful stuff our inner person may inflict upon us, means that at times we may try to compartimentalise: we shove it out of the way like an inflatable balloon that you’d push under water in a swimming pool.

Keeping the balloon below the surface takes a lot of energy and is hard to control. And the more we attempt to stuff it down, the more difficult it becomes to keep it there. Eventually, balloons (and the hard, triggering thoughts they represent) tend to pop right back out to the surface — and rarely at a suitable time and place. 

It is rather odd, however, to coexist with this other ‘I’ who generally speaks to us as ‘you.’ After all, we are the only living beings on this earth experiencing this kind of relationship and its duality. 

We are born in this strange lifestyle that we rarely admit to experiencing: we all sort of live with someone else. And that other being is oftentimes the greatest source of distress, anxiety and discomfort in our lives. They crowd us and can make us feel ill at ease at home, in our own selves.

Could it be that we can create a better life for ourselves by having our inner roommate practise Loving Kindness alongside us? It’s certainly what my own experience showed me. 

Knowing that now, consider this: what would life be like if you could have a better relationship with your inner roommate? 

Who would you be if you had better living arrangements in your own mind? 

And imagine this: what would it be like to have a supportive, patient and kind inner roommate?

Think about that: what would life look like for you if you gave Loving Kindness a try?


Try Loving Kindness Meditation via my meditation channel, Out of the Clouds Waking Heart or on Insight Timer

My ‘why’ and the story of how I got started with Mettā you will find in this link

Or head over here for more.