Most of the time, we’re our own harshest critics. We strive to hide our flaws and mistakes so we can project a perfect image into the world. With this practice, we choose to instead bring compassion to our imperfections. This shift helps us grow more comfortable with the human difficulties we’ve been desperately trying to avoid—a radical shift that also uncovers the opportunity to develop our inner wisdom and equanimity.
A Meditation for Directing Compassion Toward Ourselves
A 12-Minute Meditation for Directing Compassion Toward Ourselves With Vinny Ferraro
- Allow your awareness to turn inward. Soften the gaze. Soften the body.
- Let’s set the intention to just meet ourselves, and whatever arises, with warmth and affection. Again, I’ll offer a poem. These are the words of Bob Sharples: “Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself or redeem yourself. Rather do it as an act of love, of deep, warm friendship with yourself. In this way, there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement or the endless guilt of not doing enough. It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people’s lives in knots. Instead now there’s a meditation as an act of love.”
- Now imagine the person you were holding in compassion last lecture is now turning toward you with their compassionate gaze. First, reconnect with that felt sense of compassion you have for them: that you truly want to see them free from suffering. And let’s reconnect with those phrases that make the most sense to you: I care about your difficulties. May you be held in compassion. May your heart be at peace. That same person you held in mind last lecture is now acknowledging what’s hard for you. That same person is offering you the same tenderness, the same well wishes, that you offered them. They care about your difficulties. May you be held in compassion. May your heart be at peace.
- Allow yourself to take in their compassionate wishes as much as possible. Allow them to touch your heart.
- Now try to direct that same compassion to yourself. I care about my difficulties. May I be held in compassion. May my heart be at peace. You may find that what arises is what gets in the way for each of us. Again, this is not an excuse to judge ourselves or our experience. It’s clear where the love is needed. It needs to be applied to these barriers between us and this life. I care about my difficulties. May I be held in compassion. May my heart be at peace.
- Gently hold whatever it is that’s arising. Take time to get in the habit of planting these seeds of compassion.