Compassion is a funny thing because we often have it for others, yet fail to enlist it on behalf of ourselves. For one reason or another, one of the hardest things for many of us to do is be gentle with ourselves. When we mess up, we beat ourselves up instead of forgive ourselves. If we fail at something, we kick ourselves rather than let it go. We are harder on ourselves than we would ever be on our children or loved ones. When it comes to ourselves, we can be downright brutal!
A wonderful tool for developing compassion towards oneself and others is a Buddhist practice called Maitri which translates to “loving kindness”.
To cultivate maitri toward oneself is the first step in this Buddhist practice in which you concentrate on sending loving-kindness to all beings. First, you must flow unconditional loving kindness inward. Directing loving kindness towards yourself first is essential. The concept is similar to what we’re told to do on an airplane when there is an emergency and the oxygen masks drop down. Passengers are instructed to put the mask on their own face before attempting to help children, or anyone else. The same is true with this. Once you have directed loving-kindness inward, you then can project it outward to friend and foe alike. You do this using your breath as the vehicle which carries loving kindness into your own spiritual center (your heart), and then from your heart, you can project it out to others.
Join me in a 5 minute loving kindness meditation by clicking the link below.