Counseling/Psychotherapy with Self-Compassion
Please begin by ending all conversations, and PLEASE shut-off your phones and/or laptops. Simply be for a moment in the quietude of your inner self. Please close your eyes if you wish to do so. Contemplate the sacred nature of your profession – saving lives, reducing suffering, being a constant object, practicing ethically, and befriending so many people with so much emotional pain. You practice a sacred profession!
Let’s begin our meditation. STOP at any time if you feel strong discomfort doing this practice or if you simply are not yet ready for it. Loosen your jaw.
- As you sit open up your heart to both self-respect and self-love (at least liking yourself) for the sacred help you give to people. You provide huge reserves of compassion for others in your work.
- Imagine a person’s face. A person you have helped in the past. Notice facial details and facial emotions.
- Mellow yourself back a bit and take several slow, deep, calming breaths (polyvagal and unresolved trauma cautions). Feel the breaths going in and out at very slow rates. Feel the breath at your nostrils, in your chest and in your abdomen. Notice the movement.
- Be ONE with the inner gratitude you may feel, and find deeper silence in the spaces between thoughts and between breaths. Focus on the quiet spaces!
- As you sit and breath be in private solitude. Enjoy being here now, and take just a few moments going beyond cognitive noise and rest deeply as you can in self-compassion about your own suffering and self-care in your own meditation. Now it is your time for self-compassion.
- You may contemplate a bit about your own experiences of suffering, but PLEASE do not get into story-lines and strong images about it. In fact, do your best to ALLOW your own pain to drift gently out of your body on each out-breath you make. Gently and lovingly extend your out breath at an even amount on your exhalations. Breathe in to the count of 5; hold to the point of five; and, exhale to the count of eight. Practice a little in inner silence.
- As you breathe out ALLOW the feelings of your inner pain and suffering to leave your body (if you wish) and enter the vast, endless, universe. The universe contains all it needs to hold your negative energies. Let the negative energies GO on the exhalations!
- Radically accept that you will be mindful of joy, boredom, and suffering in the future. Now, however, you have a new tool to use that empowers you to reduce secondary suffering (what our thoughts and emotions do with primary, unavoidable suffering to prolong our pain). Take a few more slow, deep, calm breaths. Be with it! Be it!
- Take a few more calm breaths and slowly open your eyes. Return your body, mind and soul back to this group – here now.
Limited processing to follow.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness
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