Take a moment to pause in the midst of your activities to come back into presence and nurture yourself, communicating in any way that feels natural “I’m here and I care”
For many of us, the idea of loving ourselves may seem out of reach, it is a process that evolves over time, as we learn to let go of self-criticism and self-judgment, and of the internalised negative voices from parents, siblings, teachers, and others. It becomes what Tara Brach calls a spiritual reparenting, learning to relate to ourselves with kindness. Our capacity to love ourselves is often awakened in us through having received love from others. So this practice starts by evoking a benefactor to help us remember what it’s like to love someone, and to awaken our loving heart. If we know how to love someone else, it means that we have what it takes to love ourselves.
This is a meditation on compassion using our breath and our heart. The foundation of this practice is to breathe in pain and suffering and to breathe out compassion. For this we begin to imagine ourselves as a “flow through”: the breath comes in, we breathe in the suffering into our heart, and then our heart becomes a transformer of sorrows. As we breathe out compassion, we imagine the suffering moving out into a larger space that can hold it all.
As we practice, we start to develop what the Tibetans call the “Lion’s roar”, which is a sense of confidence that we can handle the suffering of this life. It’s the sense that whatever happens, there is room in our heart for it.
We can use the four steps of the acronym RAIN, – Recognizing, Allowing, Investigating and Nurturing, – as a guide to explore our present moment experience. This practice can help you to gently come back into presence and grow in self-awareness, when you are functioning on auto-pilot.
Take a moment to pause and come into presence through the sensations in your body.
When we feel profoundly unsettled by everything that is happening to us and around us, a key step is to come home to ourselves in this moment, whatever is happening: when we bring our mind back to our body we come home. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk
Thich Nhat Hanh says that when we touch this experience of coming home, it is like finally arriving home after a long journey: it brings us a sense of peace and freedom, no matter our circumstances. In his meditations, Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us again and again “I have arrived, I am home” here and now. This grounding practice is inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh and by the meditation teacher Lesley Booker.
As we quiet ourselves in meditation, and enter a stillness and presence between all the activities of our life, we can listen to the deep intention of our heart, and know what really matters in our life, so that, when we face difficulties, this becomes the place of guidance in us. In this meditation you are invited to listen to your heart’s intention, and to reflect on the five mindfulness trainings, as a way to create the ground for well-being and happiness in your life. These are trainings that you can retake over and over again, as the meditation teacher Jack Kornfield says, “it is like making fresh bread every day”. Every day you reset your intention and plant seeds of goodness in your life, over and over again.
Take a moment to pause in the midst of your activities, to breathe consciously, re-connect with your body and your heart, and remember what really matters in your life.
Take a moment to pause in your activities, connect with your breath and your heart, and take in the words of the poet Danna Faulds, reminding you to live in the present.
In this meditation inspired by Tara Brach, you are invited to connect with your loving awareness that witnesses all your experiences with kindness and compassion. From this grounded place, you will visualize meeting with your future self, an older, wiser and more evolved version of yourself, the expression of your awakened heart.