Margarita Perera Ruiz
This practice consists of a meditation of 10 minutes based, on the Metta Bhavana Buddhist practice, that can help to develop an empathetic mindset towards team members, calm thoughts, stimulate positive emotions, reduce the level of stress, and relieve anxiety. The most common form of the practice is in five stages, each of which should last about 2 minutes for a beginner.
We value individuals and interactions over processes and tools, so we provide tools for team members to improve their interactions. Sometimes, because of daily work, misunderstandings may arise in the team, as well as lack of integration, so we need to help generate empathy and positive emotions within the team. It is suggested to do this practice before the start of a retrospective, so that people will be more receptive, empathetic, and calm.
Invite the group to a 10-minutes meditation to generate positive emotions for the team.
Explain that this practice will have 5 stages of 2 minutes each:
It is usually best to choose the people for the stages before you begin the meditation. So, ask the participants to choose three team members in their minds:
Give some recommendations:
Make sure everyone is seated comfortably.
Set a timer for 2 minutes and repeat 5 times, the use of a meditation app is recommended (e.g. Insight Timer; it has a timer with programmable meditation bells).
Ask participants to close their eyes and focus on their breath. Have them inhale through their nose and exhale through their mouth slowly.
Start to guide the meditation. This is an example:
Begin the practice by acknowledging your current emotional state, whatever this is. Then, it is helpful to search for any elements of kindness, appreciation, or well-wishing and to dwell on them with a view that helps them enhance.
1st stage: Self. Generate a feeling of loving-kindness towards yourself. Start by becoming aware of yourself and focusing on feelings of peace, calm, and tranquility. Then, let these grow in feelings of strength and confidence and develop as love within your heart. You can use an image, like a golden light flooding into your body, or a phrase such as ‘may I be well and happy’, which you can repeat to yourself. These are ways of stimulating the feeling of loving-kindness for yourself.
2nd stage: Friend. Bring them to mind as vividly as you can, and think of him/her good qualities. Feel your connection with your friend, and your loving he/she, and encourage these to grow by repeating ‘may he/she be well; may he/she be happy’ quietly to yourself. You can also use an image, such as a shining light from your heart into him/her. You can use these techniques — a phrase or an image — in the next two stages as well.
3rd stage: Neutral person. Now extend your well-wishing and loving-kindness towards a ‘neutral’ person, preferably someone you have some contact with but for whom you have no particular feelings of like or dislike, this may be someone you do not know well but see around: "May he/she be happy, may she/he be well".
4th stage: Difficult person. Include in your loving-kindness a person you dislike or currently have difficulty with: "May he/she be happy, may she/he be well". Trying not to get caught up in any feelings of hatred, think of him/her positively, and send your positive emotions to him/her as well.
5th stage: Everyone. First equalize your well-wishing across all four people so far: yourself, the friend, neutral person, and difficult person. Then gradually extend the well-wishing to include all members of the team. Have a sense of waves of loving-kindness spreading from your heart to the team: May we be happy, may we be well.
Then, gradually relax out of meditation, and bring the practice to an end.
When 10 minutes are over carry on with your sprint ceremonies.
The short version may include only 3 stages:
Another variation could work is extending each stage from 2 minutes until 5 minutes.
Works quite well remotely, be sure to mute all microphones and ask participants to move to a quiet room and close the door.