For many years I have been talking about having compassion for self as being a very important key for clients, students, friends (and of course for myself!). I believe it is a central, primary component both to our spiritual development and to our healing.
Lately my conversation with myself on this topic has deepened – part of a larger exploration of trauma, the nervous system, self-regulation and healing. There are currently experts writing books about the subject of compassion toward self.* It is becoming a popular topic. There is a strong impulse on the planet for us to evolve that is being influenced by the Great Teachers, including the Buddha and the Christ.
I am aware of how blessed I am to have a Teacher who has given me tools which are immensely helpful in the process of developing a kind and loving heart, heart energy that can be directed both to others and toward myself.
The first tool is Twin Hearts Meditation. This ancient meditation is very powerful and accessible. Doing Twin Hearts meditation for me is like taking vitamins. At least three times a week I have the opportunity to send blessings to the planet. This blessing helps my heart and crown chakras to be utilized for service and to grow. The opened chakras help me to be receptive to the higher spiritual energies and to be reminded of my capacity for loving. I feel lighter and brighter doing regular Twin Hearts meditation.
Another important tool that Master Choa has also given us includes a forgiveness technique. Understanding the importance of forgiveness and doing the practice helps in untangling the knots in my energy system that can hold me in hurt, resentment, and self criticism. Understanding my humanity is central. As a human I am making mistakes, part of the process of learning and developing; for example, when I am being hard on myself or being critical about not growing fast enough. “Why have I not learned this by now?”, I ask myself. “How is it I have not healed this part yet?” Not useful … right? When I start on these kinds of questions, I have an opportunity to extend lovingkindness and compassion toward myself by forgiving myself.
Through the process of being mindful — and yes doing meditation helps develop the part of the brain that is observant and non-judgmental — we can be aware that there is a choice even in how we are thinking.
For example: “I am aware that I am being critical of myself, and this is not helping me. In fact I don’t feel very good about myself when I do this. I can choose not to continue with this train of thought. I can choose to forgive myself. I can choose right now to direct that loving compassion that I have been cultivating though meditation toward the part of me that is struggling.”
You might even experiment during Twin Hearts meditation by blessing a “small you” in front of you as one way of cultivating kindness toward self. You could imagine the wings of your heart wrapping around and holding that small self in acceptance and compassion. Oh, yes! How good does that feel?
Extending kindness and compassion toward yourself is a process. Like any other process it takes practice and requires patience. The payoffs, however, are big.
Twin Hearts Meditation can be experienced by clicking on Meditation Audio Stream at this site.
*Dr Kristin Neff’s book “Self Compassion” is both accessible and comprehensive. She gives practical exercises and is self revealing.