Meditation for Compassion

When thinking about what it means to be a compassionate person, we tend to consider how we would relate to another person who is in need of care and understanding.

We rarely factor ourselves into this category. The following meditation can help you start to view yourself with greater kindness and consideration.

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1. Sit in your meditation space and, as you allow yourself to relax, bring a sense of calm with you, so you are approaching this exercise from a gentle and thoughtful perspective. Your focus at this point should be on your breathing and the gentle rise and fall of your chest.

2. As you close your eyes, focus on a time in your life when you have been there for someone in need.

3. Allow this visualisation to run through your mind and remember how you felt towards this person; the esteem and regard you held them in as well as the care and attention it took to make sure they were well looked after.

4. It at any time you feel emotional, come back to yourself by using the breath as a means to keep you feeling calm and in control. when we take care of our family and friends, we often don't think about the emotion and thought behind it, we just do it because we care. You might call it compassion on autopilot as we go where we are needed and do it gladly, which is why this exercise is helpful in showing us that we also need to show the same compassion to ourselves.

5. Think about how you treat yourself on a day-to-day basis and the general thought process behind this; how do you view yourself when you first wake up in the morning? If you have a hard day at work or at home, do you treat yourself kindly or are you particularly harsh and critical? If you take time out for yourself, do you feel guilty for doing this, or do you feel like you deserve time off?

6. If you have realised that you are indeed nuturing yourself, this is a wonderful affirmation, and this exercise can be used simply to remind you of the things you do to look after yourself. If, however, this has brought to light your impatience and disregard for your own well-being, now is the time to meditate on why you don't treat yourself with the same compassion and tollerance you would show others.

7. When you feel ready, think about how you could now make steps towards treating yourself with the same are and respect you show for others; see yourself replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Make sure that you choose something that closely relates to the situation, rather than a generic platitude. If, for example, you are having a hard day and can't get a project or task done on time, rather than berate yourself for this, imagine something more appropriate such as "I have given it my best and that is all I can do. I will start afresh tomorrow." If you make yourself out to be unworthy it creates a pattern of ongoing destructive behaviour. We would never want our friends and family thinking of themselves in this way, so remind yourself that you also deserve compassion. Think about working towards helping yourself in a considerate and constructive manner.

8. When you feel you have come to the end of the meditation, commit to carrying your good work forward by treating yourself with kindness and compassion in you daily life.