Mindfulness is a way to experience loving-kindness on a moment-to-moment basis throughout the day. You just go about the world, taking everything in with feelings of affection. But sometimes you may find that negative thoughts, especially self-critical ones, distract you from feeling love. If that happens, a breath meditation is an excellent way to quiet those thoughts.
After a 20-minute meditation, many people find that the constant patter of the inner voice has quieted down. How this occurs is not fully understood, but it appears that when one focuses with concentration on a single object—say, the breath—brain areas not involved in the task at hand tend to become less active. A minor warning—negative side-effects of long, silent retreats have been reported, but short meditations like this one are generally considered safe.
Without the distraction of often critical self-talk, it becomes easier to notice things in the present moment and to feel love for them. Mindfulness amplifies sensory experience, and makes sights and sounds more vivid.
In this meditation, we first focus on the breath, and then mindfully observe a still object—roses— taking note of details—individual petals, stems, their color and position in space. When we see mindfully, the things we gaze upon seem lovelier than ever.
If you'd like to learn more about the science of mindfulness, click Deeper on Mindfulness