Mindfulness – Self-Kindness Practice
Befriending the self is one of the most difficult things for Americans to do. It is probably true that self-kindness is difficult for most people; however, the current rampant criticism (I am right! You are wrong!) and extreme greed manifesting in the United States tends to produce two opposite extremes: pathological narcissism or self-disdain. We are lacking an intelligent “middle way.” A recent issue of Shambhala Sun presented several approaches to improve self-compassion and self-kindness without greed or narcissism. You may wish to visit these sites.Self-Compassion, and Center for Mindful Compassion.
Now let’s begin with a brief meditation on this important topic.
- Sit in a comfortable meditative posture.
- Begin with a few deep, slow cleansing breaths.
- Work at being open-minded, fearless, and present.
- Turn the light of the world inward to your heart area. Watch your joyful self as well as your suffering self – BUT do not get caught in the suffering past or the fearful future. Stay present here now.
- As you breathe and practice this, note the sensations and emotions arising in this moment.
- Notice if any of your negative energies arise: negative, critical thoughts; unhappy mind; projected criticism of others, etc. Just let it be if present. Them use impermanence and try to let it go with you mind and body. Just do your best here.
- Practice kindness for yourself as you would for your significant other or a best friend.
- Be in your feelings well beyond the fearful amygdala, less-than self, and false-self greatness. Let go!
- Be aware of the sources of joy and self-fulfillment all around you in this world. You need to notice them to use these resources. Make images of some right now.
- Place your hands over your heart and allow in self-compassion. Allow in self-kindness. Allow in self-liking. Be personal on what these “allowings” mean to you and how you are experiencing them now.
- Follow Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s advice: Trust in yourself; be kind and generous to self and others; use self-compassion always! Now just practice a little longer.
For more details refer to Shambhala Sun (November, 2015), pp. 52-63.
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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