It is our hope that your holiday season, whether that is going on now, was at the beginning of the month, or is yet to come, had some moments of peace. For some of us that is a moment of solitude, for others it is being surrounded by loved ones from far away. The beauty of this journey is that we are the ones that get to decide what brings us peace and joy, and we get to seek out those moments that fit that vision.
As we prepare for a New Year, we want to offer up an opportunity to participate in a meditation on compassion, another space for peace and stillness that is wrapped in love for ourselves and others. As ‘The Book of Joy’ outlines it, there is nothing more important, according to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu than the art and the act of compassion. They believe (and I do not disagree) that 10 minutes of compassion work can lead to 24 hours of joy, and that starting now is the best time 🙂
You will notice that this compassion meditation taken from ‘The Book of Joy’ is very similar to our Lovingkindness meditation that we frequently practice both here, and in the studio. This practice has been modified and practiced by many traditions and gurus. See ‘The Book of Joy’ for additional information!
- Find a comfortable position
- Take a few full breaths to get into a mindful space.
- Think of someone you love very much. Try to picture them and notice how your heart feels when you think of them.
- Feel whatever arises. If you feel warmth, tenderness, kindness, stay with those feelings. If you are struggling with feelings, stay with the image of the person.
- Repeat, internally, the mantras: May you be free from suffering. May you be healthy. May you be happy. May you find peace and joy.
- As you breath in and out imagine a warm light wrapping around your heart, and allowing it to carry to your loved one.
- Rejoice in the thought of your loved one’s peace for another minute.
- Remember when that loved one was having a difficult time.
- Notice what it feels like to experience their pain.
- Again repeat your mantras: May you be free from suffering. May you be healthy. May you be happy. May you find peace and joy.
- Imagine that the light from your heart reaches out to soothe and heal your loved one, easing their suffering.
- Think of a time when you felt suffering. It could be recent, or in the distant past.
- Place your hand on your heart and reflect on the warmth and light that remains resting there.
- Reflect that just like all people you want to be at peace and free from suffering.
- Again repeat your mantras: May I be free from suffering. May I be healthy. May I be happy. May I find peace and joy.
- Think of someone that you neither like or dislike. Again this could be recent, or from the past.
- Know that this individual too has experienced moments of suffering.
- Repeat your mantras:May you be free from suffering. May you be healthy. May you be happy. May you find peace and joy.
- Imagine the warmth of your heart reaching out to them and easing their suffering and offering them a moment of peace.
- Take a few deep breaths to sink into this space.
Allow ourselves a few minutes to allow compassion to trace out and around us! Take some time for yourself and others by engaging in this practice. 🙂