The oft forgotten and neglected partner of mindfulness meditation is compassion practice. Mindfulness and compassion, by those in the know, are described as two wings of the same bird. But for whatever reason, it isn’t as sexy as mindfulness. It hasn’t enjoyed the same riptide out into popular culture. And so, compassion practice has been left humbly on the shore.
During professional development today for a group of local teachers, I retold the story about how my meditation teacher prescribed that I, “get on the cushion and love the sh** out of yourself," in response to my report that I was finding fellow silent retreat participants annoying. What we can find inside of ourselves can be hard to see, and if we haven’t spent the time cultivating love, we may not be able to handle it. I really have had to jack up my loving awareness to look clearly at my critical mind without turning away in shame.
Today, practice some self compassion. One way we can do this is by intentionally thinking of what we would like to offer ourselves. For me, May I be at ease. May I be open to wisdom. May I love. For you, May I be….(fill in the blank with your own personal wishes).
If you find it difficult to offer that self love, it can be helpful to start by thinking about someone who is easy for you to generate that for, like a child, partner, or even pet. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be peaceful. Then, once you’ve generated that feeling of love, redirect it inwards.