This meditation is designed
to cultivate compassion, directing inwards toward yourself for healing, and also outwards towards others. It is a really nice
one to do, and it is one of the best I know for effecting real personal transformation.
I always like to begin
with a short relaxation exercise to help clear and focus the mind. Any one will do, so if you already have a favourite relaxation
exercise you can use that, otherwise her e is the one which I use:
Begin by focussing your
awareness on the contact between your body and whatever is supporting it, like the chair underneath you, and perhaps the floor
beneath your feet. Take three deep breaths, and each time you exhale feel your weight sinking down into the chair and the
floor (or whatever it is you are on). Relax your body as you let go of its weight. Now expand your awareness to include the
contact between different parts of your body. Your hands may be resting on your knees, your toes and fingers touching, your
cheeks touching your gums and teeth, and so on. Again take three breaths and relax your body. Expand your awareness again
to include the contact between your body and your clothes, and the air around you. Again take three deep breaths and relax.
You will now be ready for the main meditation.
Silently repeat to yourself
over and over again: ‘I wish myself well, I wish myself healthy and at ease’. We do not often allow ourselves
to feel compassion towards ourselves, but that is exactly what you should try to do as you continue to repeat the above phrase
over and over. It should be almost as if you were another person, outside of
yourself looking in, quite apart from your ordinary desires, problems, ambitions, stresses, loves etc., but seeing them and
feeling compassion towards yourself.
After a while, holding
on to this feeling of compassion, feel it expand to include your closest friends, family and loved ones. At his point you
should be silently repeating ‘I wish them well, I wish them healthy and at ease’, but you should still be including yourself in ‘them’.
After a while longer you
should expand this again to include everyone you know. When your mind turns to a person who you are in conflict with in some
way, or who you do not like or get along well with, try to understand where they are coming from, to empathise with their
position even if you disagree with it vehemently, and to feel only compassion towards them, at least for that one instant.
Finally you should expand
this once again to include the whole world, all the people within it, and perhaps even the biosphere of the earth itself,
and all of the life it contains.
When you are ready to
finish you should refocus your attention back towards yourself, and simply remain in position for a few moments, allowing
yourself to feel the compassion that you have cultivated during the meditation, and thinking about how you can take this feeling
forward into your life.