Self Compassion Meditation

Self Compassion Meditation


Welcome to this practice of self-compassion. In this practice, you’ll cultivate thoughts
and feelings of compassion for your own stress, difficulty, and suffering. Make sure you’re sitting in a comfortable
position. Start by taking a few deep breaths, focusing
on the feeling of the breath going in and out of your mouth. Notice how it feels on your lips, your tongue,
and in your throat and chest. Now bring to mind somebody that you care about. Picture this friend or loved one. Perhaps imagine being with them or recall
a favorite memory about them. Notice how you feel when you think of this
friend or loved one. Notice any positive thoughts or feeling of
gratitude, affection, or warmth that thinking about them evokes. Now remember or imagine a time when they were
suffering in some way. Notice how you feel when you think of them
suffering. Choose to focus your attention on any feelings
of tenderness or desire to help, and silently recite the following phrases for your friend
or loved one: “May you be free from suffering” “May you be free from fear and anger” “May you know peace and joy” “May your mind be at ease” Then return your awareness to the natural
rhythm of your breath. Now imagine yourself as a young child. Bring up in your memory a time when this childhood
you was suffering in some way. When you see this child suffering, don’t you feel instinctively protective towards this child? When you see this child suffering, don’t you relate to this child with tenderness and a natural sense of caring? Let this feeling of compassion towards the
childhood you permeate your heart and then silently repeat these phrases for yourself
as a child: “May you be free from suffering” “May you be free from fear and anger” “May you know peace and joy” “May your mind be at ease” Now think of a time in your adult life when
you were suffering in some way. Perhaps you were sick or in pain. Perhaps you experienced some disappointment or loss. Notice how you feel when you remember this experience. Just as you responded to the suffering of
a loved one and your childhood self with concern, tenderness, and the urge to help, you can offer yourself the
same compassion. So with feelings of warmth and caring towards
yourself, silently repeat these phrases: “May I be free from suffering” “May I be free from fear and anger” “May I know peace and joy” “May my mind be at ease” Now create in your mind a compassionate image
that represents the qualities of wisdom, strength, acceptance, love, nurturing, or caring. Imagine yourself in the presence of this source
of compassion. Imagine yourself the recipient of its great
compassion. Feel that in the presence of this compassionate image, you can be completely yourself. There is no judgment, only total acceptance. Allow yourself to rest in the feeling of unconditional compassion and acceptance. Imagine that as you stay in the presence of
this compassionate image, it awakens in you your own source of strength, wisdom, and compassion. Renewed by this connection to your own deep source of compassion, recite in your own mind one more time for yourself: “May I be free from suffering” “May I be free from fear and anger” “May I know peace and joy” “May my mind be at ease” Now bring awareness to the area around your physical heart. Notice how this area gently expands or fills as you breathe in, and how it relaxes as you breathe out. For a few breaths, imagine that you could
inhale directly into the center of your chest, expanding the chest, lungs, and heart. Then imagine that you could exhale directly
from the center of your chest – inhaling into the heart, exhaling out from the heart. Now bring to mind something that is creating
some stress, pain, or suffering for you at this time in your life. Notice how you feel when you think about this. Consider the possibility that this source
of pain or suffering does not isolate you from others, but is part of the experience of being human. Just like you, countless other beings know
what it is like to feel this pain or grief or self-doubt or fear. As you inhale, imagine that you could breathe
in all the feelings that this experience brings up for you. Imagine opening your heart to this experience
and allowing yourself to be touched by it. As you exhale, imagine that you could breathe
out compassion for yourself and the countless other beings on this planet that may be suffering
in a similar way in this moment. As you inhale, open your heart to the experience. As you exhale, send out compassion for yourself
and for all others that are also suffering. Now silently recite in your own mind: “May we all be free from this suffering” “May we each find peace and joy” As this session draws to a close, let your
heart be touched by feelings of warmth, tenderness, and caring for your own needs, and rest your mind simply on the natural rhythm of your own breath.

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