Rereading Ayya Khema's jewel of a book, Being Nobody, Going Nowhere, I discovered a new, and very useful twist on loving kindness meditation. Right after starting to focus on the breath, and before setting the intention of loving kindness into the heart, Ayya Khema instructs us to:
Take a look into your heart and see whether there is any worry, fear, grief, dislike, resentment, rejection, uneasiness, anxiety. If you find any of those, let them float away like the black clouds that they are . . .
This intermediate, and usually overlooked step can make all the difference between a meditation spent fighting the intended love, and one that allows it. I have observed in myself, and also others, the difficulties in being able to directly go to a loving place. First the hindrances must be dealt with and integrated into the experience. The trouble comes from wanting to force love right away and dismissing the difficult emotions that may be present.
Now, the challenge is to 'let them float away like the black clouds that they are' . . .