In Buddhism, we talk a lot about generating compassion for all sentient beings.
The problem is we usually forget that “all” includes “us”!
Here’s a simple self-compassion meditation from my latest show on Lessons In Joyful Living.
Give it a try!
First of all let’s find our seat. We all have different capacities for sitting, so if you find sitting on a cushion to be uncomfortable, sit in a chair.
The main thing is that you adjust your posture so you’re sitting with a nice, straight spine. Ground yourself to earth. Let go of tension in the body. Bring your awareness of the breath.
Remind yourself that you are safe. Any emotions that come up in this meditation, just let them come. Experience them fully knowing that you are in no danger, they will pass.
Now that we’re relaxed and present, take a moment to examine the truth of your own suffering.
We all suffer. There’s no denying that. Look at some examples in your life. Right now in this moment you might be feeling uncomfortable sitting in your chair or on your cushion. You might be too cold or too hot.
In your daily life, you may be going through a tough time at work. There many be family and relationship problems Maybe you’re going through a break-up or even the death of someone close to you. Maybe you’re going through an illness, longterm depression, addiction.
Normally we resist the unpleasant emotions we feel during these times. They may even seem unbearable.
Right now I want you to take a moment to let the feelings of suffering come up without pushing them away. Let yourself become open to your own suffering. Let yourself become tender, soft. Don’t resist. Don’t be afraid. Even if tears are flowing down your cheeks, don’t run away.
Now I want you to generate compassion for yourself. You are a suffering sentient being. The sadness that you feel, the pain, even the agony, is all a part of who you are.
You deserve relief from that pain and sorrow, from all that suffering.
Just as you would wish for someone you care deeply about: a spouse, a child, a parent, a dear one, generate the wish that you too be free from the suffering you are experiencing.
When that feeling is as strong as you can make it say this:
May I be free from suffering.
May I be free from illness.
May I be free of pain and sorrow.
May I show myself kindness.
May I show myself patience.
May I always have the strength and wisdom to show myself compassion even when I’m feeling great suffering.
Say these words, or any that resonate for you, a few times. Let that feeling sink in until you know without a doubt that you have cultivated compassion for yourself.
Now open your eyes and come out of the meditation.
Dedicate the merit of your practice to the relief of suffering for yourself and all beings.
And that’s it!
So go ahead and give this meditation a try. Try it out for the next thirty days and let me know how it changes your relationship to yourself and everyone around you!