relationships

How meditation helped this guy ditch dating apps — and get more dates

Jordi Lippe-McGraw, Yahoo Health: Last year, Andy Glickman decided he’d had enough. The now-24-year-old realized that his love life essentially consisted of a string of people just looking for superficial or physical relations, with no interest in connecting on an emotional level. He was meeting people online and through apps, and would frequently receive unsolicited nude pictures from people more than twice his age. And he was tired of it.

So Glickman, who also happens to be a sought-after yoga instructor and meditation coach in Philadelphia, decided to apply his expertise in meditation to his love life.

How? Meditation …

Read the original article »

Read More

The Four Noble Truths of intimate relationships

Couple on a beach, back to back, with one leaning back upon the other

Because Buddhist teachings have been passed on by celibate monks, we often get the impression intimate relationships are no more than a distraction or hindrance to the spiritual life. But the Buddha himself described marriage as potentially a source of great happiness:

Both husband and wife are endowed with faith, charitable and self-controlled, living their lives ethically, addressing each other with pleasant words. Then many benefits accrue to them and they dwell at ease.

He went as far as to claim that a happy marriage was divine or angelic in nature when he said that a couple can be like two devas (angels, gods) living together.

Moving in the direction of having this kind of fulfilling relationship involves recognizing what I call “The Four Noble Truths of Relationships.”

1. Suffering is a part of all intimate relationships.

Some of this is inevitable, but most of it is unnecessary.

Our task here is to recognize this suffering in the first place, and to understand that we create most of it ourselves, taking responsibility for our own actions.

2. Relationships are unnecessarily hard when we cling to unhelpful conditioned beliefs and patterns of action.

We often act in ways that cause us, and our partners, pain. This includes blaming, wanting to be “right,” keeping score, thinking that the other person “makes” you feel things, seeing your partner as the source of your happiness, using passive-aggressive “hinting” instead of direct communication, withdrawing affection as a means of punishing our partner, and using sex as a substitute for emotional intimacy.

See also:

These are all forms of attachment. Most of the problems of attachment in relationships involve us clinging to our own desires rather than to our partner. It’s this clinging to our own wants that causes most of the problems in intimate relationships.

Our task here is to let go of these unhelpful patterns, so that we can make room for more creative, kind, and helpful ways of being.

3. Relationships can be a source of joy, fulfillment, and of personal growth.

This statement comes with a caveat: it doesn’t mean that every relationship has this potential. If one partner is abusive and unwilling to change, then joy and fulfillment likely lie elsewhere. But assuming that both partners are open to change and growth, and genuinely want a fulfilling relationship, then this is possible.

Our task now is to learn to accept any current difficulties without seeing them as defining the relationship. This involves having the faith that the relationship can blossom, perhaps in unexpected ways, should we commit to mindfulness, honesty, courage, and kindness.

4. There is a path that consists of developing mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom, which leads to the realization of this potential.

This is the “eightfold path of relationships.”

This eightfold path starts with:

  1. exploring our views about relationships, discarding those that hinder our growth and adopting those that facilitate it. It continues with
  2. clarifying our intentions, expectations, and core values. It involves
  3. cultivating truthful yet compassionate speech and
  4. ethical action, as well as
  5. balancing work and family life. It includes
  6. making an effort to grow in every aspect of our lives, and to
  7. develop greater mindfulness. And it involves
  8. taking time out in order to meditate, reflect, and transform ourselves.

Our task is to walk that path.

Being in a relationship involves the direct realization of interconnectedness, where we recognize that our own personal happiness is inextricable interwoven with that of another person. Instead of focusing narrowly on our own happiness, we have instead to consider our mutual wellbeing as partners. Intimate relationships thus present us with an opportunity for self-transcendence.

To do all this isn’t easy. An intimate relationship requires constant attention and constant “work.” It requires us to courageously accept uncomfortable truths about our own unhelpful views and habits. It requires us to let go, again and again, of those unskillful tendencies. It involves the humility of accepting that we don’t have all the answers, and that we maybe don’t even know what the important questions are. It involves taking risks, and exposing our own vulnerability. But it’s from these challenges that joy and fulfillment come.

Read More

Meditation = better attitudes, healthier bodies and hotter sex

Melissa Escaro, Huffington Post: Mindfulness seems to be all the rage now, and it is a pleasant surprise how mainstream meditation is becoming. More and more people are tuning into meditation, from Anderson Cooper’s television experience with a mindfulness retreat to groups like Operation Warrior Wellness, which focus on bringing stress-reducing techniques to veterans and their families with PTSD. It’s encouraging to see these traditional practices gaining traction in today’s modern world.

Many people know the benefits that meditation can create, from less stress to more clear thoughts. But there …

Read the original article »

Read More

How being mindful can benefit relationships

wildmind meditation news

A friend has become a big believer in the power of mindfulness. Recently she said she thinks it has helped improve her marriage. I thought mindfulness was really just a new word for meditation. How can it help with relationships with other people?

While meditation can help a person develop mindfulness, the practice of being mindful is more than meditation. And some studies do suggest that mindfulness can help strengthen relationships.

Jon Kabat-Zinn is known as the “Father of Western Mindfulness” for his work with chronic pain patients at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, as well as for developing the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program and being the founding executive director of the Center for Mindfulness at UMass. He describes mindfulness as the ability to remain focused on the reality of the present moment and simply accepting it, without judging or evaluating it.

Mindfulness is seen as a way of life, not simply a method of how to react to different stressors. According to the center’s website, mindfulness involves purposeful action and focused attention that’s grounded in a person’s current experience and held with a sense of curiosity. While mindfulness is a core concept of Buddhism, it is something that anyone, regardless of belief system, can practice.

Being mindful prevents knee-jerk reactions toward other people that can often occur when you’re under stress. So, it seems logical that relationships can improve when one or more people adopt mindfulness techniques. And research lends support to that notion.

One study, published in Behavior Therapy in 2004, analyzed the benefits of an eight-week mindfulness training program on relatively happy couples. Compared with similar couples who hadn’t taken the training, those who did had improved levels of satisfaction, closeness, acceptance and other measures of their relationship, and they also showed higher levels of optimism, spirituality and relaxation as individuals. The results appeared to “take,” as the benefits were maintained in a three-month follow-up.

Two other studies, reported in an article in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy in 2007, also indicated that practicing mindfulness can help couples with communication and help them manage conflicts more smoothly.

To learn more about mindfulness, take a look at Ohio State University Extension’s “Mind and Body” page on the Family and Consumer Sciences LIve Smart Ohio website, livesmartohio.osu.edu. The posts, written by OSU Extension professionals, often incorporate aspects of mindfulness.

In addition, OSU Extension offers a four-week “Mindful Extension: A Guide to Practical Stress Reduction” group program. It was developed by Maryanna Klatt, an associate professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, who focuses her research on mindfulness and stress reduction. For details, see livesmartohio.osu.edu/mindful-extension.

Family Fundamentals is a monthly column on family issues. It is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Family Fundamentals, c/o Martha Filipic, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1044, or filipic.3@osu.edu.

Original article no longer available…

Read More

No more (Buddhist) Mr. Nice Guy!

Recently Euan, whom I don’t know, wrote a comment expressing his dismay at a girl turning him down because he was “too nice.” Here’s what he wrote:

I only started meditating in December 2014 and was seeing this girl for a while, we went on a couple of dates, the first went well and the second went ok. We continued messaging each other but she seemed less keen, then today she told me she felt we didn’t click and didn’t want to meet again. She said I paid her too many compliments and was too nice. I’m just so angry because I felt like she was leading me on and we had been speaking for at least two months as I first met her in December but I went home to university and so didn’t see her again until 2 weeks ago where we had the two dates and I thought things seemed to be going well. I just want to know what I’m supposed to think I guess. From what I’ve learned for my short period of meditation is that we should love each other, but when someone tells me they don’t want a relationship because I’m “too nice” it makes me question what I’m doing. Like should I stop being nice to girls I want potential relationships with, and how am I supposed to not get angry at her for me being too nice. What is so wrong with the world that people don’t like being treated nicely, it perplexes me.

Sorry if this doesn’t read smoothly, I’m writing this immediately after I found out and my almost immediate reaction was to question how I am supposed to think like a Buddhist when bad things happen to me for being too nice.

Euan’s comment raised questions that I thought are worth exploring in a blog post.

Euan’s experience is not unique. I’ve been there myself in the past, and when I was young I found myself astonished and sometimes angry at the way some women I’ve been interested in gravitated to men who seemed to me to be jerks. And although my anger never turned into a general hatred of women, this evidently happens with some men. But I still had a lot to learn.

So I want to talk about “being nice,” from the point of view of a man who’s realized that “being nice” is not as “nice” as “nice men” like to think it is. I’m not advocating being unkind, and certainly not advocating ill will or hatred. I’d like to talk about how “being nice” is not actually kind, is a form of manipulation, and is not, in most cases, what women need or want. And I’m sorry, Euan, but some of this may be hard to read. I don’t mean to be unkind or to hurt your feelings, but instead want to act as a kalyana mitta (spiritual friend) who points out things we need to know but may not want to know.

What’s a “nice guy”? A “nice guy” is a man who thinks that the way into a girl’s heart (and bed) is by being agreeable and flattering. Here are a few characteristics of “nice guys,” drawn from a Wikihow article:

  • They offer to do things for a girl they hardly know that they wouldn’t normally do for just anybody else they know.
  • They avoid conflict by withholding their opinions or even become agreeable with her when they don’t actually agree.
  • They try to fix and take care of her problems, they are drawn to trying to help.
  • They try to hide their perceived flaws and mistakes.
  • They are always looking for the “right” way to do things.
  • They have difficulty making their needs a priority.
  • They are often emotionally dependent on their partner.

The psychology of “nice guys” has been written about a lot. Here’s a great analysis of the whole phenomenon from Geek Feminism Wiki.

Being a “nice guy” is a strategy. It’s not who someone fundamentally is, although “nice guys” are very conscious of and attached to their identity (self view) as “nice guys.”

The purpose of the strategy, as I’ve said, is to attract and keep a woman. A cartoon by Callmekitto about “nice guys” shows a woman jubilantly holding up a card, similar to one of those “Buy ten cups of coffee and get one free” cards. She’s saying to the young man beside her, “That’s the eight stamp on your Nice Guy Card! Now you can stop pretending to care about me as a person and we can have all that sex you deserve!”

Cartoon by Lauren Dombrowski, @callmekitto at Tumblr

Cartoon by Lauren Dombrowski, @callmekitto at Tumblr

The cartoon is brutally frank, but it’s making the point that acting as a “nice guy” assumes that relationships are a form of transaction: I’ll pretend to be the kind of person I think you want, and then you’ll give me sex and approval.

As the cartoon indicates, the man who is playing at being a “nice guy” isn’t actually relating to the woman as a full human being. He’s not being himself, and may even have lost touch with who he is. He doesn’t want to express his needs and won’t challenge his intended partner in any way because he thinks that risks pushing her away. In fact the opposite is the case. Few women want a partner who doesn’t express himself and who avoids conflict. A conflict-averse partner is neither going to stand up for you not stand up to you.

The “nice guy” is far from practicing metta, or kindness. Metta is based on empathy (anukampa), which is an awareness of the other person as a person — as a feeling being who has needs. In fact the “nice guy” role is based on craving. You desperately want something (sex, companionship, approval, the status of “being in a relationship”) and you go through the moves that you think will get you that thing. But there’s no actual awareness of the other person, which is unattractive, and so as a “nice guy” you’re constantly finding that you don’t get what you want. In fact it’s not just that you want the things I’ve mentioned: you deserve them. After all, you’ve given the endless compliments, you’ve refrained from expressing what you really want in just about any situation (“No, any movie you choose is fine with me!”), you’ve studiously avoided expressing any needs (“No, it’s not a problem that you stood me up”). You’ve been nice. You’ve cranked the handle on the machine, and how it’s time for your reward!

When the reward doesn’t come the first few times, you might be depressed. But then you get angry — but not just at the girls who rejected you, because you start to realize that almost no girl is going to give you what you deserve. And you do, you think, deserve the sex and the love you want, because you’re not even conscious that “nice guy” is a role you’re playing, and you think it’s who you are. So you both want and hate women, or “bitches,” as you may think of them. As another cartoon (actually it’s more of a “meme”) says, “Women never date nice guys like me. I hate those bitches.” Frustrated craving turns to hatred.

I want to re-emphasize that the “nice guy” is a role that men play. It’s not who they fundamentally are. So in criticizing the actions of “nice guys,” I’m not saying that there’s something irretrievably flawed about them. Just that they need to so some work in becoming more self-aware, braver, more honest, and more genuinely empathetic and loving.

The Wikihow post I linked to above has some advice for stepping out of the “nice guy” role, but I’ll say just a few words about developing the qualities I just mentioned.

  • Become more self-aware: Realize when you’re acting out of craving and expectation. Let go of the label of “nice guy.” Seriously, never refer to yourself or think of yourself as a “nice guy” ever again. The role has become a trap for you, and it’s preventing you from seeing who you really are. Take responsibility, and take a good look at yourself: if your attempts at relationships all end up the same way, the common denominator is you, not “women.”
  • Be braver: Don’t cling to your preferences, but don’t be afraid to express them. Express how you feel. If you’re upset or afraid or hurt, it’s OK to express those things. And I mean express them directly, in words (“When you stood me up I felt really hurt”), not throwing a tantrum or trying to punish the other person. The Buddha was not a “nice guy.” He called people on their bullshit.
  • Become more honest: Stop trying to be “nice” all the time. But being honest doesn’t mean saying whatever happens to be on your mind. For example, Euan said that this girl has been “leading him on.” He may think that telling her that is “honest.” Actually, saying “I think you’ve been leading me on” is technically honest, because he has had that thought. But saying “She’s been leading me on” isn’t the truth, but a story. What from Euan’s point of view seems like being led on, might well be, from the girl’s point of view, giving the relationship a little time in order to see if she actually likes this guy. When you take your interpretations and present them as if they were the absolute truth, you’re not being honest.
  • Become more genuinely empathetic and loving: Ah, right: there are all these tips you’ve read on “how to show empathy.” You nod, and look concerned, and ask questions, and reflect things back to the other person, and make little “uhuh” noises to let the other person know you’re listening. But those things are not empathy. They’re what empathy looks like, and they can all be done without any real empathy at all, without any real appreciation that the other person is a fully human being with needs and desires, who in all likelihood wants to be with another person who has needs and desires, and not with someone who is going through the motions of “being nice” and “being empathetic.” To be genuinely empathetic you have to be self-aware, prepared to take risks, and to be honest. Ask yourself, would you want to be with someone who was acting the whole time?

Euan said, “From what I’ve learned for my short period of meditation is that we should love each other, but when someone tells me they don’t want a relationship because I’m ‘too nice’ it makes me question what I’m doing. Like should I stop being nice to girls I want potential relationships with.”

Buddhism does teach us to have metta (kindness) and karuna (compassion) and to be empathetic, but that doesn’t mean “being nice” and it certainly doesn’t mean “being manipulative.”

The men a “nice guy” thinks of as “jerks” — the ones they see girls with all the time — are more enjoyable for just about any human being to be with, let alone a romantic partner, than any self-consciously “nice guy.” They aren’t acting. They’re more inclined to be honest about what they want and feel. When they give compliments it feels sincere because they’re not doing it all the time. They offer challenge. They call out bullshit. We all need that.

I’m not saying that every “jerk” is really a good guy. Some jerks cheat or are violent. Those are real jerks. But even a real jerk might be more fulfilling to be in a relationship with than someone you don’t know because they’re constantly playing a role, and when there’s the underlying threat, which isn’t that hard to pick up on, that they’ll turn nasty when they don’t get what they want. Better the devil you know than the one pretending to be “nice” all the time, perhaps.

So being a “nice guy” isn’t nice. It’s fake. So yes, “nice guys” should stop being “nice.” But that doesn’t mean being unkind. It doesn’t mean treating people badly. It means becoming self-aware. It means “manning up” and having the courage to be honest so that you can be in a genuine relationship with another human being rather than acting out a role in order to get a reward.

Read More

How to use mindful communication and improve relationships

Joe Wilner, PsychCentral:

“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.” – Jim Rohn

The holiday season is often a time where we are around family members we may not see that often, or that we don’t always get along with.

The dreaded family reunion doesn’t have to be such a burden however if we have ways to communicate effectively that can help us improve relationships. …

Read the original article »

Read More

Mind over matter

wildmind meditation newsLinda and Charlie Bloom, Psych Central: “Mindfulness is not something that is only done in the meditation hall, it is also done in the kitchen, in the garden, when we’re on the telephone, when we are driving a car, when we are doing the dishes.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindfulness, a term that until fairly recently has not been very much in the current parlance has recently become a popular subject. There’s even a magazine, actually named Mindful that claims to “celebrate the basic human ability to be fully present and aware of where we are and what we’re doing.” And not long ago, …

Read the original article »

Read More

Tandem meditation 101: how meditating with your partner builds intimacy

wildmind meditation newsJason Nik, Care2.com: As a Life Coach, I’ve had many clients in relationships that meditate, but somehow it always surprises me when they tell me they only meditate on their own. When these clients are going through relationship troubles and I suggest meditating together, they look at me as if I don’t understand the concept of meditation.

We all know that the benefits of meditation have been well-documented as decreasing anxiety and increasing happiness for an individual among other things; but some of the time we have spent meditating alone to enhance our individual lives could also be spent meditating with another to enhance our relationships.

To play on an old saying, couples who meditate together stay together.

Meditation creates an entirely new peaceful world for you and your interest to share together. Perhaps even more exciting, people who just met or recently started dating can meditate together, developing a bond that months of getting to know each other could not replicate.

In any relationship, it takes time to get close to someone. In that time, you have no idea what obstacles may rise up in the way of your relationship developing. Time is important to develop a relationship, but if you want to build a close bond early, meditation with your interest is a great way to start. Meditating with someone new in your life creates a different kind of intimacy that forges a unique bond between the two of you. It may seem strange at first to meditate with someone else. Meditation is perceived to have been built for solitude and seclusion; however, when you consider the core principles of meditation, suddenly meditating with a partner makes so much sense.

One of the core principles of meditation is the removal of distractions. Work, money, health, etc.­­ these are all distractions in our personal lives that can be stressful for us to deal with. They are also things that (with proper meditation) we can remove from our minds—this creates the stress­ free clarity that we crave. In the same way those issues can be obstacles in our personal lives, they can also be major obstacles in our relationships.

Meditating with a partner will allow you both to remove those distractions from your minds so you can take the time to focus on what is most important: each other.

Having no judgment is another core principle of meditation. People so easily make quick judgments about others. Sometimes we think good things about a person, and other times we think bad things about that person. Whatever judgments are being made, meditation is a no-judgment zone. That means when you meditate with someone you are interested in, you put yourselves on the same level. It’s very important in any relationship that you start off on the same level, or you may create an imbalance that as your relationship progresses could eventually tip over, destroying everything the two of you built together.

The most important principle of meditation is awareness. In singular meditation, awareness is when our senses become heightened in order to consciously feel everything around us and achieve a peaceful state of mind. When we meditate as an individual, our sense of touch is not explored much. When we meditate with another, touch plays a significant role in building our bond.

It always amazes me how little people touch one other in the early stages of getting acquainted. As babies, the sense of touch is the first sense we acquire. As a adults, touch still plays a large role in our lives. When two people touch each other they send emotional signals between one another. The sense of touch plays such an important role in connecting with someone, but often times people are uncomfortable touching someone new.

In general, society far prefers to communicate with words or through facial expressions rather than through touch. Even worse is society’s refusal to communicate naturally at all, with a preference of communicating through texting. Communication may be faster through texting, but it strips away our natural connection and results in a disconnect.

On the other hand, touching brings two people closer together than any other form of communication. With touch, people are able to communicate on a truly emotional level. In order for two people to meditate together touching is required. It is through that touching that you remove the solo nature of meditation and instead create an awareness of each other. Intimacy begins with touching, and if you want to build a bond with someone you need to be comfortable touching them.

How does someone meditate with another, you ask?
Here are seven simple steps to begin your journey of meditating with a partner.

1. Find a quiet place where the two of you cannot be interrupted. Turn off your phones or place them on silent. Put them out of sight to keep them out of mind.

2. Wear comfortable clothing, the same clothing you would wear when meditating by yourself as long as your partner is comfortable with that clothing.

3. Sit cross legged, facing each other.

4. Hold both of your partner’s hands. How you hold hands is up to you, just make sure you are both comfortable with the position.

5. Look into each others’ eyes. Remember, this isn’t a staring contest so you’re more than welcome to blink. Also, don’t simply stare at their eyes, instead look into their eyes as if you’re searching for something deep within their soul.

6. Breathe. Don’t chant, just breathe. If you are used to chanting when you meditate on your own this will be a bit of an adjustment, but the reason I suggest you refrain from chanting is hearing someone else’s chant may catch you off guard. Meditating together relies so much on developing a succinct rhythm together

7. Start with five minute sessions and gradually increase to your desired time in dual meditation.

There are many different methods of meditating with another. This is a good starting point as it is comfortable and doesn’t require too much effort from either participant.

Whether you have known the person you’re meditating with for a long time or for only a little, follow these steps and you will be amazed at the deep and lasting bond you have created with another.

Original article no longer available »

Read More

Healing after heartbreak

wildmind meditation newsAnastasia Pollock, NewsOK: Healing from heartbreak can feel daunting and overwhelming. These five skills can aid in the healing process, making it less overwhelming, and helping a person to heal fully so he or she can move forward with his or her life.

Heartbreak can be the result of many situations. It can be the loss of or a change in a relationship, the loss of a loved one, a major life adjustment or the loss of something that is important to you. The common denominator here is loss and change that feels like (and is in some respects) loss. Often, when we …

Read the original article »

Read More

The art of self-forgiveness

Everyone messes up. Me, you, the neighbors, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, King David, the Buddha, everybody.

It’s important to acknowledge mistakes, feel appropriate remorse, and learn from them so they don’t happen again. But most people keep beating themselves up way past the point of usefulness: they’re unfairly self-critical.

Inside the mind are many sub-personalities. For example, one part of me might set the alarm clock for 6 am to get up and exercise . . . and then when it goes off, another part of me could grumble: “Who set the darn clock?” More broadly, there is a kind of inner critic and inner protector inside each of us. For most people, that inner critic is continually yammering away, looking for something, anything, to find fault with. It magnifies small failings into big ones, punishes you over and over for things long past, ignores the larger context, and doesn’t credit you for your efforts to make amends.

Therefore, you really need your inner protector to stick up for you: to put your weaknesses and misdeeds in perspective, to highlight your many good qualities surrounding your lapses, to encourage you to keep getting back on the high road even if you’ve gone down the low one, and – frankly – to tell that inner critic to Shut Up.

With the support of your inner protector, you can see your faults clearly with fearing that will drag you into a pit of feeling awful, clean up whatever mess you’ve made as best you can, and move on. The only wholesome purpose of guilt, shame, or remorse is learning – not punishment! – so that you don’t mess up in that way again. Anything past the point of learning is just needless suffering. Plus excessive guilt, etc., actually gets in the way of you contributing to others and helping make this world a better place, by undermining your energy, mood, confidence, and sense of worth.

Seeing faults clearly, taking responsibility for them with remorse and making amends, and then coming to peace about them: this is what I mean by forgiving yourself.

How?

Start by picking something relatively small that you’re still being hard on yourself about, and then try one or more of the methods below. I’ve spelled them out in detail since that’s often useful, but you could do the gist of these methods in a few minutes or less.

Then if you like, work up to more significant issues.

Here we go:

  • Start by getting in touch, as best you can, with the feeling of being cared about by some being: a friend or mate, spiritual being, pet, or person from your childhood. Open to the sense that aspects of this being, including the caring for you, have been taken into your own mind as parts of your inner protector.
  • Staying with feeling cared about, list some of your many good qualities. You could ask the protector what it knows about you. These are facts, not flattery, and you don’t need a halo to have good qualities like patience, determination, fairness, or kindness.
  • If you yelled at a child, lied at work, partied too hard, let a friend down, cheated on a partner, or were secretly glad about someone’s downfall – whateverit was – acknowledge the facts: what happened, what was in your mind at the time, the relevant context and history, and the results for yourself and others. Notice any facts that are hard to face – like the look in a child’s eyes when you yelled at her – and be especially open to them; they’re the ones that are keeping you stuck. It is always the truth that sets us free.
  • Sort what happened into three piles: moral faults, unskillfulness, and everything else. Moral faults deserve proportionate guilt, remorse, or shame, but unskillfulness calls for correction, no more. (This point is very important.) You could ask others what they think about this sorting (and about other points below) – include those you may have wronged – but you alone get to decide what’s right. For example, if you gossiped about someone and embellished a mistake he made, you might decide that the lie in your exaggeration is a moral fault deserving a wince of remorse, but that casual gossip (which most of us do, at one time or another) is simply unskillful and should be corrected (i.e., never done again) without self-flagellation.
  • In an honest way, take responsibility for your moral fault(s) and unskillfulness. Say in your mind or out loud (or write): I am responsible for ______ , _______ , and _______ . Let yourself feel it. Then add to yourself: But I am NOT responsible for ______ , _______ , and _______ . For example, you are not responsible for the misinterpretations or over-reactions of others. Let the relief of what you are NOT responsible for sink in.
  • Acknowledge what you have already done to learn from this experience, and to repair things and make amends. Let this sink in. Appreciate yourself. Next, decide what if anything remains to be done – inside your own heart or out there in the world – and then do it. Let it sink in that you’re doing it, and appreciate yourself for this, too.
  • Now check in with your inner protector: is there anything else you should face or do? Listen to that “still quiet voice of conscience,” so different from the pounding scorn of the critic. If you truly know that something remains, then take care of it. But otherwise, know in your heart that what needed learning has been learned, and that what needed doing has been done.
  • And now actively forgive yourself. Say in your mind, out loud, in writing, or perhaps to others statements like: I forgive myself for ______ , _______ , and _______ . I have taken responsibility and done what I could to make things better. You could also ask the inner protector to forgive you, or others out in the world, including maybe the person you wronged.
  • You may need to go through one or more the steps above again and again to truly forgive yourself, and that’s alright. Allow the experience of being forgiven to take some time to sink in. Help it sink in by opening up to it in your body and heart, and by reflecting on how it will help others for you to stop beating yourself up.

May you be at peace.

Read More
Menu

Wildmind is a Community-Supported Meditation Initiative. Explore the benefits of becoming a supporter.

X