- Find a quiet place where you can sit, stand, or lie down, whichever is most comfortable.
- Close your eyes (or keep them open), whichever you prefer.
- Play the following audio recording:
MP3 Link: https://soundcloud.com/user-877205336-555180076/meditation-for-self-compassion
This meditation is a self-compassion meditation of revealing loving presence.
You can do this practice sitting, lying down, or even standing.
We’ll begin by simply settling into the breath and the body.
As you inhale, notice sensations of breath throughout the entire body, and as you exhale, relax and release that attention.
Inhale, noticing sensations in the body.
Exhale, relaxing and releasing.
Continue this pattern of noticing through the inhale, and relaxing through the exhale, on the rhythm of your own breath.
When the mind slips away—caught up by some idea, memory, or image—no problem at all.
Simply relax; release whatever has captured your attention, and return—for just a bit longer—to settling into the breath and the body.
Noticing through the inhale, relaxing and releasing though the exhale.
We’ll now shift and focus our attention away from the breath and the body and into our practice of self-compassion.
In this practice, we’re going to focus on the subtlety of compassion for ourselves—that’s already here.
We begin this by simply noticing right now, right here.
Is there a sense of care, kindness, and compassion for ourselves?
The very basic human condition is one in which we are seeking to be okay.
Noticing this basic human desire to care for ourselves, see if you can feel that as a presence.
Noticing whether in the body this sense of caring or kindness can be experienced just through the simple breath.
Inhale, noticing a caring presence.
Exhale, noticing a caring presence.
This may feel hard or abstract. You can reflect on the simple ways that you take care of yourself…
Listening to this meditation.
Taking care of your body through bathing, feeding.
Think of the simple ways that you try to avoid difficulty and discomfort.
For example, shifting or moving the body if you’re uncomfortable.
Putting on a warm sweater if you’re cold.
Just notice these simple ways we’re already kind to ourselves—caring about our well-being.
Instead of having to generate or construct self-compassion, feel or imagine simply revealing the self-compassion which is already here–our desire to alleviate our own suffering.
Continuing again through the inhale and exhale—
Inhale, considering this loving presence that’s already here.
And exhaling extending a wish of compassion to our self.
Inhale, noticing the loving presence already here.
And exhale, extending that loving presence and compassion to ourselves.
This may feel hard or hokey at first—no problem at all.
Setting our mind and intention towards this caring way of being can create a natural form of relaxation and resilience, so keep steadying the mind here.
Noticing a caring loving presence, extending a caring loving presence—for ourselves.
Consider continuing this feeling of loving presence throughout the rest of our day and evening.
No need to shift anything, simply bringing this practice to a close.
Eve Ekman, PhD
Senior Fellow at the Greater Good Science Center