self-metta

Be kind to everyone, but trust only those who deserve it

Recently someone asked me what she should do if she couldn’t trust a person she was being kind to. In the past she’d tried to be compassionate to a roommate she didn’t trust, and had even felt herself to be in danger. She didn’t say what the exact circumstances were, but it sounded scary.

Being kind to someone means treating them as a feeling human being who, like us, has a deep-rooted desire to be happy and an equally deep-rooted desire not to suffer. It means empathizing with the fact that happiness is elusive and that suffering is all too common. Bearing these thoughts in mind makes it harder to be unkind to the other person and easier for us to treat them with empathy, kindness, and compassion. It becomes easier to care for their wellbeing.

Trust means knowing or believing that someone can be relied upon. It might mean that they can be depended on to look after our best interests. It could mean that they can be relied upon to tell the truth. It might mean that they can be relied upon to do what they say they will.

I think generally we can in fact trust most people, even complete strangers, but when there’s a history of dishonesty or manipulation, or when you pick up on a bad vibe, it’s best to err on the safe side.

But kindness and trust don’t necessarily overlap. We can treat everyone kindly, but a person may have a track record of not caring for our wellbeing (possibly even of being cruel or exploitative), or of being unreliable, or of being untruthful. Under such circumstances it might be very unwise to trust that person. They simply haven’t earned our trust. They’re not trust-worthy. Trusting everyone is what we call “idiot compassion.”

But you can still be kind to a person who isn’t worthy of your trust. Knowing that they’re a feeling being, you don’t have to want them to suffer. You may have to say or do things that make them unhappy (like saying “no” when they ask if they can borrow money) but you don’t do that with the intention of making them suffer. In fact if we’re being kind we may say “no” to another person because we want them to be happy! We don’t make people genuinely happy by enabling their vices.

I’m not saying, incidentally, that it’s easy not to have ill will for someone we distrust, just that’s it’s possible and that it’s what we should aim to do.

It sounds to me that the woman who asked this question had got herself into an enabling or codependent situation. Not wanting to appear cruel, she didn’t want to stand up to the other person. Wanting to be kind, she didn’t want to say no. But she was confusing trust and kindness.

If we fear that the other person is trying to exploit or harm us, we need to be very careful. Some people want to rip us off or even physically harm us. Sometimes we need need to be kind to ourselves by getting the hell out of Dodge! We should be kind to everyone, but in some cases we should be kind from a safe distance.

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We can teach our brains to feel more compassion

wildmind meditation newsMindful.org: Scientific evidence shows that we can train the brain to feel more compassion—for others and for ourselves.

Another science-based reason to try loving-kindness meditation! In a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (directed by Dr. Richard J. Davidson, who was featured in Mindful’s August 2014 issue), participants were taught to generate compassion for different categories of people, including both those they love and “difficult” people in their lives.

After only two weeks of online training, participants who practiced compassion meditation every day behaved more altruistically towards strangers compared to another group taught to simply regulate or control …

Read the original article »

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For people who hate their bodies

Image adapted from a Creative Commons licensed photograph by reway2007Not many people like their bodies. The typical reaction from looking at oneself naked in the mirror lies somewhere on a spectrum from mild disappointment to outright revulsion, with a bit of disbelief thrown in (how did I get so old? where did those wrinkles come from? where’s my hair gone?)

I had a little epiphany the other day, though. I’d been talking with my girlfriend, who I adore. She’s beautiful. Really beautiful. And she’s also afflicted by doubts about her attractiveness. So when we were talking she was going over some of the things she didn’t like about her appearance (wrinkles, etc) and I’m, like, “I don’t care. I love those things about you. You’re beautiful.” Well, you know what it’s like when you love someone unconditionally. There’s just a complete acceptance of the whole of them. So that’s one thing.

Then I walk into the bathroom to get ready for bed, and see myself naked in the mirror. And a quick series of criticisms of my body flashes through my mind. Some bits are too skinny. Some bits are too flabby, too hairy, not hairy enough… My overall response could be summed up in the word “Yuck.”

And then I caught myself. Why can’t I give myself the same uncritical love that I give to my girlfriend? I mean she thinks I’m attractive, so why can’t I just accept that?

So I started telling bits of my body that I love them. I patted my belly fondly and said “I love you.” I did the same as I touched my thinning scalp. And as I laid a hand on my man-boobs.

And you know something? It feels great saying those things. Criticizing ourselves is almost as painful as being criticized by others, but giving ourselves affection, appreciation, and acceptance is often even more moving than receiving those things from other people, because it’s something we so rarely do. So I’ve been doing this ever since. You might want to try it too.

If there’s an inner voice telling you that this is silly or doubting that you can really love those bits of yourself that you tend not to like, don’t suppress that voice or try to argue with it. Just let the thoughts come and go.

Bear in mind that this is something you might want to repeat often. After all, you might have criticized your body tens of thousands of times, so perhaps it’ll take you a while to get into the habit of doing the opposite. But do try it. I’d love to hear how you get on.

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Why you don’t really hate yourself

woman standing against a wall divided into contrasting colors

Lots of people struggle with self-hatred. They find they constantly judge themselves, talk to themselves harshly, and even do things to themselves that are harmful. It’s very painful to be this way.

But I want to tell you: you don’t really hate yourself.

In the deepest core of your being you love yourself. In the deepest core of your being you want everything for yourself that you want for those you hold most dear. In the deepest core of your being you want to be happy, to be well, and to be at peace.

And everything you do — everything — is a strategic attempt to find happiness, wellness, and peace. That’s the motivation behind every action you take, including your acts of self-hatred.

If you hate someone else, your motivation is usually something like this: by being unpleasant to them they’ll go away and not bother you any more, and then you’ll be at peace, and you can get on with being happy. Or they’ll stop doing that thing that annoys you, and then you can go back to being happy.

Those motivations of ours aren’t usually very conscious, because conscious self-examination is a relatively recent arrival in our being, evolutionarily speaking, and so many of our strategies are not clearly thought out, but are automatic and habitual. And so we often use strategies that just don’t work. The person you’re unpleasant to often can’t or won’t go away. They may be unpleasant back at you. And so your strategy to find peace and happiness ends up destroying your peace and your happiness even further.

If you hate some aspect of yourself, then usually the motivation is similar to those above. Maybe you messed up: “Oh god, what an idiot I am!” you yell at yourself, in the privacy of your own head. You treat yourself like a child who needs to be punished so that it won’t repeat an error. You do something good but you tell yourself it wasn’t “good enough.” If you can just be unpleasant enough to yourself, then maybe you’ll stop making mistakes. You’ll do better. Then you’ll be happy.

This is also a strategy that doesn’t work. You can’t find happiness through being harsh on yourself. You can’t create a sense of inner peace through setting up a conflict with yourself. But we get stuck with our failed strategies of self-hating behaviors — repeating them over and over. Hating yourself didn’t work that time? Try a bit harder at hating yourself next time!

But the key thing is that self-hatred is a strategy. And it’s a strategy for meeting a deeper desire for well-being, peace, and happiness. And that deeper desire for well-being, peace, and happiness is the love you have for yourself.

Self-hatred is self-love gone wrong. Self-hatred is your natural desire for happiness expressing itself in a strategy that can never work.

This is, I hope, encouraging. Because it’s not you, in your core, that’s the problem. It’s your strategies. And you can change your strategies. Strategies, in the great scheme of things, are relatively superficial. When you mess up, you can learn accept that you messed up without recrimination. You can learn that you don’t need to be harsh on yourself to prevent yourself making mistakes. You can learn, as animal trainers well know, that rewards are more important motivators than punishments like harsh self-talk. You can learn to be kind to yourself. You can practice lovingkindness, and learn the arts of being patient, accepting, and kind toward yourself. You can learn to be compassionate to yourself when you’re suffering.

It’s not necessarily easy to do all this. In fact it’s not easy. It even can be very painful in the short-term (we’ll often give ourselves a hard time for giving ourselves a hard time), although in the long-term learning to be kind to ourselves brings great happiness. You can expect a bumpy ride at first. But the only thing more painful than learning new strategies for finding happiness is to keep going with strategies that never have worked and never can.

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Self-hatred, self-compassion, and non-self

You should train yourself thus … ‘I shall remain friendly and empathetic, with a mind of lovingkindness, and I shall not give in to hatred'

A lot of people have difficulty practicing self-compassion, but some people have difficulty with the concept of self-compassion. I’ve had very experienced Buddhist practitioners tell me that while they think it’s good to have compassion for others it’s not desirable or even possible to have self-compassion, or that self-compassion is just self-pity. It’s a shame there’s so much confusion over such a crucial practice.

But in some ways it’s not surprising that this confusion exists. The Buddha just took it for granted that we love ourselves — he said we should love others as we love ourselves, which for self-loathing westerners seems the wrong way around — and as far as I’m aware he never addressed the problem of self-hatred, which people say is largely a modern, western phenomenon, although I’m not sure there’s any evidence of that. Anyway, there’s little to nothing in the Buddhist scriptures about the practice of self-compassion or even self-metta.

Dealing with those objections, I see the issue of self-compassion versus compassion for others, or self-hatred versus hatred of others as a red herring. Hatred is hatred. So hatred of oneself, or parts of oneself, should be dealt with in the same way as hatred for others. And compassion for oneself should be cultivated in exactly the same way that compassion for others should be cultivated. So when the Buddha says something like:

“You should train yourself thus … ‘I shall remain friendly and empathetic, with a mind of lovingkindness, and I shall not give in to hatred,'”

this is as applicable to ourselves as it is to others. When the mind is full of compassion it touches everything it experiences with compassion. And this applies to reflexive thought — when the mind full of compassion thinks of itself it does so compassionately. How could it do otherwise?

This is a teaching of non-self. The perception of pain is just the perception of pain. If you experience pain in another or in yourself there’s not any essential difference regarding how you should respond: your pain, another’s pain — it doesn’t matter. And the only appropriate and skillful response to the perception of pain is compassion. It doesn’t matter whether the pain you’re perceiving is in yourself or another, you should meet the pain with compassion. This is where the non-self perspective comes in. “Your” pain isn’t really your pain.

There’s an interesting dialog in the Samyutta Nikaya, where the Venerable Moliya Phagguna asks the Buddha the simple question:

“Lord, who feels?”

The reply is very interesting: “Not a valid question,” the Blessed One said.

“I don’t say ‘feels.’ If I were to say ‘feels,’ then ‘Who feels?’ would be a valid question. But I don’t say that. When I don’t say that, the valid question is ‘From what as a requisite condition comes feeling?’ And the valid answer is, ‘From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving.'”

So suffering, which is a feeling, arises, but it’s improper to say that there is a person who suffers. There is suffering but there is no sufferer. This is hard to understand without having seen through the illusion of self, but if we want to move toward directly seeing the truth of non-self we shouldn’t get caught up in thinking that our own suffering is any different from other people’s suffering.

We often, though, think either that our suffering is more important than others’ because it’s ours, or that it’s less important because it’s ours. Both of these are examples of what Buddhism calls “conceit” which includes not just thinking that we’re more important or better than others (so we’ll hurt people to relieve our own suffering) or that we’re less important or worse than others (so we’ll give compassion to anyone but ourself).

Self-pity is entirely different from self-compassion, incidentally. Self-pity is where you’re causing yourself further suffering by going “Oh, this is terrible. This shouldn’t be happening.” With self-compassion you let go of those story-lines and simply feel compassion for your pain. You send it loving attention. You hold it in awareness the same way you might hold a sick child. You give yourself comfort and reassurance.

Actually self-compassion is a bit of a misnomer. You don’t really have compassion for “yourself.” “Your self” is too large and vague a category; it’s hard to point to exactly what it refers to. You don’t really have a unified, stable, single entity called “your self.” “Your self” is an abstract category, and so you can’t really have compassion for it. What you can have compassion for is your pain, or the part of you that is suffering (which is inseparable from the pain). It’s the experience of suffering that is the object of self-compassion. The experience of suffering is more concrete. There is feeling, but no one who feels.

So this is my practice: when I’m experiencing pain I notice as best I can where it is in my body (even emotional pain is experienced in the body) and I send it my love. I send it my kindly attention, and drop phrases into the mind like “May you be well; may you be free from suffering.” But you could just as easily describe the intention as “I shall remain I shall remain friendly and empathetic, with a mind of lovingkindness, and I shall not give in to hatred (or self-pity).”

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Meditation as an act of love

lantern with heart-shaped window illuminated by a candle inside

“Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough. It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people’s lives in a knot. Instead there is now meditation as an act of love. How endlessly delightful and encouraging.”

– Bob Sharples, from Meditation: Calming the Mind

If you’re participating in the 100 Days of Lovingkindness, it’s because you want to become a nicer person, right? I’m right there with you.

Here’s the thing, though. Anytime we take on a practice with a goal in mind, we can get subtly sidetracked. We sit on our cushion and try to feel more warm-hearted. We try to think kinder thoughts. We try putting ourselves in our difficult person’s shoes. All that trying can make us a little tight, maybe even anxious. We’re striving to reach some imagined wondrous state that isn’t where we are now. And that probably doesn’t feel all that good. Or kind.

Hmmm…. what’s wrong with this picture?

What if you dropped all that self-prodding and just loved yourself, as you are? Rather than trying to make yourself into something else, how about just being loving, right now? When we stop reaching for that something else (which is a subtle form of self-flagellation), we can touch down into that “endlessly delightful and encouraging” place. And there you are. There’s the lovingkindness you were seeking.

Meditation isn’t a tool we whip out to help us achieve some goal off in the future. It’s a way of being that draws out our inherent nature – which is aware, warm, open, kind. Can we embody those qualities, right now?

OK, that’s easy for you to say, you might be thinking. What if I’m depressed or don’t like myself? What if I really don’t want to be where I am now?

Well, no matter how bad things are, we all have some sense of what feeling good inside is like, don’t we? What if just for one moment, you set aside all those yammering unhappy thoughts – maybe imagine putting them in a box off to the side – and giving yourself a break from them for even just three seconds. Doesn’t it feel good to stop beating your head against the wall? What if you took a deep breath, and felt what it’s like to relax those tight, wound-up muscles in your body? If you have a dog, go pet him and note how it feels when you get those adoring eyes back at you.

See what I’m getting at? No matter how depressed or unhappy you are, there’s something inside you that knows what it’s like to feel good. Why not go visit that place in your mind and body? What can you do, in this moment, that would be a simple and kind thing for yourself?

And what if those nasty self-critical or cynical thoughts keep intruding? First, you can forgive yourself that they arose. Blame doesn’t belong here at all. But from this moment forward you could choose not to buy into those thoughts so much. How about labeling them as just another thought, and loosening your grip on them a little? Old habits take a long time to unwind. You can be patient. They’ll subside eventually, as long as you don’t indulge them. But remember, NO beating yourself up!

What if you’re ill, in pain, or grieving the loss of a loved one? And you can’t find any way to feel comfortable in your own skin? Then you could imagine how you’d respond if a friend showed up at your doorstep in your current state. What would you do for her? Wouldn’t you want to give her a hug, sit her down, and show her how much you care? How about doing the same for yourself? Can you sit yourself down and give yourself a metaphorical hug? Maybe even have a good cry if that feels good in its own way?

What if you’re bored with your practice? Well, you could ask yourself, what’s the kindest thing I could do for myself right now? Am I falling prey to a habitual tendency to seek distractions? Do I want to recommit to my longer-term intentions? Can I turn my attention in a kind way to something I know feels pleasurable and interesting (as described above)? Or would I prefer to give myself a break today, as an act of kindness, and keep my sit shorter than usual?

See also:

So those are some examples of ways to BE kindness, instead of seeking it out. The real challenge of this practice is to find a genuine connection to an experience of gentleness, forgiveness, warmth, caring, and nurturing, — right now, no matter what state you’re in. And the emphasis is on “genuine connection,” as opposed to “find.” True, it might take some exploring and experimenting to figure out what’s most helpful for you. But if you do it with an attitude of warm, open curiosity, that in itself becomes an act of kindness.

When we respond to everything with this sort of soft touch, lovingkindness gets rooted more deeply into our being. It becomes more and more the way we just are. And that’s how we get there without trying.

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When you have trouble being kind to yourself (Day 18)

100 Days of Lovingkindness

Sangharakshita, the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Order and Triratna Buddhist Community, is asked by Ratnaguna in this video from (I think) 1991 why some of us have difficulties feeling kindness towards ourselves, and what we can do about it.

Here’s a transcript of the video below.

Ratnaguna: I think it would be true to say that most people find the mindfulness of
breathing the easier of the two meditation practices [mindfulness of breathing and lovingkindness meditation] and some people I think go so far as to say they they just can’t do the metta bhavana [lovingkindness meditation] — it’s too difficult. What would you say to people who say that?

Sangharakshita: I think people say this for various reasons, so it’s difficult to generalize and also it’s difficult to given an answer that will be applicable to all cases.

I think a lot of people when they try to to develop feelings of goodwill towards other living beings are a bit too forceful about it — and I won’t say wilful, because that word has perhaps been overused, not to say abused. They they’re a bit too forceful, let us say. They don’t do it in a sufficiently relaxed sort of way.

I think the secret is to to look at your relations to people, to things, to animals, and just to ask yourself, well, where do you have positive feelings? Where do you feel good will? Take that as a starting point, and remind yourself that, yes, you are capable of feeling goodwill. And in as much as you do experience goodwill towards this person or that creature. You’re able to develop it towards a greater number of people, a greater number of creatures. You are able to eventually even universalize it.

Ratnaguna: I think of the five stages of, the metta bhavana, the one that people find the most difficult is the first stage — the development of loving kindness towards oneself — and they often say that they be able to do the metta bhavana if it wasn’t for the first stage. And they quite often miss the first stage out. Do you think that’s advisable?

Sangharakshita: Well, if one has really insuperable difficulty in developing goodwill towards oneself, but can experience at least some goodwill towards others, then concentrate on the goodwill towards others for the time being. But you mustn’t give up on yourself, as it were. You must nonetheless, sooner or later, come back to developing feelings of goodwill towards yourself.

Very often people are unable or find it very difficult to develop goodwill towards themselves because they’ve been brought up with the the idea, or they’ve somehow acquired the idea, that they’re unworthy — that they don’t deserve affection or goodwill. They may even feel, in specifically Christian terms, that they’re sinners — even miserable sinners — and not deserving of anything like goodwill. Perhaps they don’t like themselves. Perhaps they don’t — I’m not going to say “accept” themselves — again this is a term that has become overused. But in some ways they’re unduly critical of themselves, and they have to let up a bit.

PS Feel free to join our Google+ 100 Day Community (now replaced by Wildmind’s Meditation Initiative), where people are reporting-in on their practice, and giving each other support and encouragement.

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Struggling with a “lack of lovingkindness” (Day 7)

100 Days of Lovingkindness

A couple of people in Wildmind’s online Community (which currently has over 400 members and is a thriving hubbub of conversation about practice, carried out with love and support) have been really struggling with lovingkindness, and especially with cultivating lovingkindness for themselves.

Here’s what I think often happens when cultivating metta goes wrong.

You start by assuming that metta is an emotion. It’s “universal lovingkindness” and so it must be some kind of powerful, warm, joyful glow: something quite extraordinary. And you’re supposed to have this emotion for yourself. So you start the practice and look for some sign of this emotion, and all you can find is — well, maybe you’re feeling a bit neutral, maybe you’re in a grumpy mood, maybe you’re anxious, maybe you’re feeling a bit low. Whatever is there, it’s not pretty. So where’s the lovingkindness? No trace of it! Oh, no. This means you don’t love yourself! You’re lacking in love, broken! There must be something wrong with you! Perhaps you don’t have love for yourself because you’re fundamentally unloveable! You plunge into despair.

I think most of us have gone through this at some time of another when learning lovingkindness practice.

Except … metta isn’t an emotion. It’s more like an attitude, or a perpective.

“Huh?” I hear you say, so let me explain.

Usually my metta practice is actually quite joyful, but the joy is an added bonus. Joy and metta aren’t the same thing, as I know from those times I’m joyfully oblivious to the suffering of people around me — suffering I may be causing.

In fact, I can be mettaful and be feeling crappy. So I may be anxious or despondent, and yet have metta. In these cases the metta is a kindly acceptance of what’s there. There’s an attitude of allowing and of tenderness.

The perspective is that it’s OK not to feel good. The perspective is that happiness doesn’t come from an endless stream of pleasant experiences, but from relating to whatever is present in a kindly way.

The perspective and the attitude are related. If it’s OK not to feel good, and if happiness comes from relating with kindness to whatever is present, even if it’s painful, then kindness naturally arises.

Without this perspective — if for example we have the perspective that it’s not OK to experience something unpleasant — then there will be aversion and consequently there will be no possibility of metta arising. This is the cause of the “cultivating metta gone wrong” scenario above.

Then there’s a more active “well-wishing” toward oneself or others. It’s an active recognition of beings’ potential for happiness, and a desire that beings (myself included) experience that happiness. I find it hard to describe this. But here goes.

The perspective is of recognizing that beings are feeling beings (something that, strangely, I forget) and that their feelings are important to them, and that they prefer happiness. Metta practice, for me, is largely keeping this perspective alive in my mind, and when I do bear this perspective in mind, I naturally wish others well, because I don’t want to get in the way of their finding happiness, and want to help them find it if I can. An attitude of well-wishing arises naturally out of a perspective of recognizing empathetically that others are feeling beings. So for me, the perspective is primary in my experience of metta, and the attitude of well-wishing is secondary, but it’s the two of those together that comprise metta.

The perspective and the attitude of well-wishing that arises from it are basically the same as the “sense of allowing and of tenderness” that I have for myself, even when I’m feeling crappy.

So there’s no need to avoid lovingkindness practice if you find it challenging. What you need to do is let go of the assumption that metta is an emotion, and see it instead as a perspective toward ourselves (“It’s OK not to feel good”) and an attitude (kindness toward what’s present in us), and as a perspective toward others (they are feeling beings that desire happiness) and an attitude of supporting them in that desire.

[See the previous 100 Days of Lovingkindness post : See the next 100 Days of Lovingkindness post]
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Embodying lovingkindness (Day 5)

100 Days of Lovingkindness

There’s a lot of confidence involved in lovingkindness, especially with lovingkindness toward oneself (self-metta), and this confidence is reflected in the body. When we’re feeling loving toward ourselves or others we’re upright, the chest is open — the heart is open — and we’re relaxed. There’s a feeling of softness, but also of stength. Metta is definitely not a weak or passive state. It involves a confident stance.

When we lack confidence, we often slump. The shoulders roll forwards. The chest collapses so that we can’t breathe well. The heart is closed. We look down, limiting our horizons both literally and figuratively. We become inward turned, and we ruminate in a way that makes us feel even worse. You can’t feel loving toward yourself or others in such a posture.

Now, research has shown that our posture is very closely related to our sense of confidence, and that this is measurable. Amy Cuddy, in a very well-known TED talk (see below), discusses research showing that when people stand in a confident posture — the classic Wonder Woman or Superman stance, with legs apart, hands on the hips, chest open, looking straight ahead — there is a boost in their testosterone levels. Testosterone, contrary to popular belief is not just a “male” hormone. It’s found in both men and women. And it’s related to confidence, and a sense of competence and self-worth.

And the same stance also reduces our levels of cortisone, which is a stress hormone.

These changes in our hormone levels take place after only two minutes! It doesn’t take long for our physiology to change in response to our posture. In just two minutes you can feel more confident and strong.

So you can try this as a practice, whether you’re standing or sitting, and whether you’re sitting to work on a computer or sitting for meditation: keep your body erect, and your chest open. Even sitting for meditation yo might want to let your elbows move away from the side of your body. Feel the confidence of this open, erect posture.

But also soften. Let your musculature relax a little. Take your awareness to your heart, breathe into the heart area, and activate the vagus nerve so that the heart feels soft and open. And then wish yourself, and the world well.

[See the previous 100 Days of Lovingkindness Post See the next 100 Days of Lovingkindness post]
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Metta-blast to the past (Day 4)

100 Days of Lovingkindness

A lot of us have trouble feeling kindness (metta) for ourselves. We’ve been brought up, or have learned, to think of ourselves as unworthy of love, or for some reason think it’s wrong to have kind feelings toward ourselves.

One way to get round this is to imagine that you’re a wiser, kinder, more compassionate version of yourself — you as you might be after another ten, or fifteen, or twenty years of practice. And you’re thinking of the present day you, with kindness and with a forgiving and understanding appreciation of the conditioning that he or she is struggling with. Perhaps there’s a feeling of tenderness, as you might have when thinking of yourself as a young child.

Imagine that you could meet yourself at a young age — perhaps at the age of five. Wouldn’t you wish your past self a happy life? So the future self, that you’re imagining yourself to be now, would have the same kind, patient, compassionate attitude to the you of today. Let the love flood back in time…

And now switch back to being the you of today, receiving this warm lovingkindness and compassion from your future self. How does it feel?

[See the previous 100 Days of Lovingkindness post : See the next 100 Days of Lovingkindness Post]
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