Christopher Germer, PhD, author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion; clinical psychologist specializing in the application of Buddhist psychology and meditation to alleviate difficult emotions in psychotherapy and everyday life.
So how to transform our garden full of weeds and marauding pigs into one of sweet-scented flowers? By embracing ourselves with kindness, we are strengthening and reinforcing feelings of self-empowerment, worthiness, and personal value. When you are ready, take a deep breath and gently open your eyes, letting the kindness in your heart put a smile on your lips.
This video guides you through a practice of acknowledging your feelings without getting caught up in the stories around them. This meditation for mothers is meant to evoke feelings that will help ground you in a place of calm and appreciation.
Gain insight into the way you can use your reactions to sound to understand yourself better and settle deeply into the present moment. Compassion allows us to feel empathy for others and improves our ability to understand and qualify our experiences. Join the community and discover yoga together with hundreds of thousands from all over the world. Use these instructions to begin your practiceBelow is a step-by-step set of instructions on how to practice compassion meditation, from members of the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism training team. If you are doing a self-guided compassion meditation, you might think of someone with whom you are irritated or frustrated.
With time, this kind of practice should help us learn how to reach past that moment of discomfort in which we turn away from those who need our help. About Live HappyLive Happy is a new lifestyle publication unlike any other on newsstands today. 3 Crucial Building Blocks of CompassionThese critical strategies will help you to cultivate compassion. Lori Loughlin Leads With Her HeartThe actress stays true to her values in life and on-screen.
We get hooked, thoughts of the person come thick and fast, and feelings of dislike, resentment, anger or irritation are like ghosts constantly haunting us.
All our thoughts and feelings get translated into chemicals that fire off throughout our body, altering the chemical composition and behavior of our cells. If you let a pig in your garden you will have a hard time getting it out, as pigs really like tasty gardens! Qualities such as kindness, compassion, and forgiveness are the seeds we want to plant to cultivate a beautiful garden. In fact, kindness and compassion are such clear outcomes of meditation that research shows how meditation stimulates the circuits in the brain associated with contentment, happiness and the feel-good factor.


Take a few minutes to focus on the natural flow of your breath, while bringing your attention to the heart space in the center of your chest. Now either repeat your name or visualize yourself in your heart so that you can feel your presence. Now direct your loving kindness toward the person you are having a hard time with, whoever it may be. Thirty eclectic meditation teachers, including Marianne Williamson, Congressman Tim Ryan, author of Mindful Nation, Sharon Salzberg, Robert Thurman, Gangaji, Joan Borysenko, Seane Corn, neuroscientist Richie Davidson who proves how meditation affects the brain, Roshi Joan Halifax, Tara Stiles, and us, Ed and Deb Shapiro, authors of the conference companion book, BE THE CHANGE: How Meditation Can Transform You and The World. It turns out, self-compassion is more important in overall well-being than you might expect.
This exercise can be particularly helpful when you are working on making life changes or personal improvements. Our balanced approach to wellness integrates traditional wisdom and modern insights to support vibrant and meaningful living. In this lesson, Faith will help you meditate to heighten and deepen your sense of compassion. For more about Compassion Meditation, see our companion article with audio, as well as the June 2014 issue of Live Happy magazine.
Create a spaceIt might be a small room in your home or an outdoor garden where you won’t be disturbed, or anywhere you can find a few moments of quiet. CommitBegin by committing to 5 to 10 minutes of meditation once a day, and plan to expand it to 20 minutes once you feel comfortable slipping into meditation. Feel your natural rhythmFind a comfortable place to sit and take a posture that is straight but not overly rigid. Think about the people in your lifeOnce you are settled, think about all the people in your life who love and support you. Picture the person in your mind if you are a visual thinker, or just focus on your sense of that specific person.
Listen to your bodyNotice how focusing your attention on this person shows up in your body. Perhaps your reflections are enhancing a sense of connection to the person or perhaps the opposite.
Feel your connection with othersAs your meditation practice draws to a close, let your heart and mind be touched by the feeling of common humanity and connection with others, and rest your attention on the natural rhythm of your breath.
Extend your awareness back into the world When you sense you’re nearing the end of the time you’ve set aside, take a few minutes to make a conscious transition into the space you’re in, sensing the temperature of the air on your skin, feeling the floor beneath you.
Tinker and find your wayOnce you’re comfortable with the basics of a compassion meditation, think about how you might personalize it. Hence, a sad feeling will influence the cells of our tear ducts and make them produce tears, or a scary feeling will give us goose bumps or make our hair stand on end.


But the self-centered ego's need for grasping, gaining, and selfishness easily buries them. One fascinating study shows that self-compassion was associated with lower anxiety, whereas self-esteem did not impact anxiety levels. By reminding yourself of your innate goodness, you may find that you’re more patient and resilient in the face of setbacks.
If you have a regular practice space, make it beautiful—bring in images, smells and sounds that are meaningful to you. Studies show that the more time you spend in meditation, the more compassionate you become. Now, think about the ways in which you, too, play a supportive role in the lives of countless others. Consider that this person has a desire for a life imbued with purpose, work that is meaningful, relationships that are supportive. Take your time and experiment with seeing how you can carry the continuity of your awareness forward into the activities that you move into next. All the negative reactions that arise during moments of discord or disagreement cause great suffering and anguish, but it is our own anger that does us more emotional harm than someone else's words.
Release any tension on the out-breath and breathe in softness and openness with the in-breath. What’s more, weight loss research shows that people who practice self-compassion and forgiveness are more likely to exercise self-control when eating. Take a minute or two to settle into your body, lightly focusing your attention on the physical sensations of the breathing process. Consider this person’s web of social connections—the people they are important to, and how much these people care about them. When we only focus on our own concerns and problems we become too self-engrossed to really acknowledge anyone else's issues. Think of their rich, textured life experiences, including their disappointments and successes.
These are the weeds we need to pull up, as are moments of closed-heartedness or anger, self-doubt and insecurity. If you are a new meditator, this could be three to five minutes; if you are experienced, you might stay longer. We can bring mercy and tenderness to those places, to the wounded parts, so the fight within us can end.



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