October 19, 2009

Kindness to Oneself

One way to develop metta within us is through the following meditation practice, which we start by extending loving feelings toward ourselves.

It's very simple: At first, sit in some comfortable position, and keeping an image or felt sense of yourself in mind, slowly repeat phrases of lovingkindness for yourself: May I be happy, may I be peaceful, may I be free of suffering. Say these or like phrases over and over again. We do this not as an affirmation, but as an expression of a caring intention. As you repeat the words, focus the mind on this intention of kindness; it slowly grows into a powerful force in our lives.

Although the practice is straightforward, it can be extremely difficult. As you turn your attention inward and send loving wishes toward yourself, you may see a considerable amount of self-judgment or feelings of unworthiness. At these times, proceed gently, as if you were holding a young child. A line from an old Japanese samurai poem expresses well this part of the practice: “I make my mind my friend.”

–Joseph Goldstein, from “Triumph of the Heart,” Tricycle, Spring 2008

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Share with a Friend

Email to a Friend

Already a member? Log in to share this content.

You must be a Tricycle Community member to use this feature.

1. Join as a Basic Member

Signing up to Tricycle newsletters will enroll you as a free Tricycle Basic Member.You can opt out of our emails at any time from your account screen.

2. Enter Your Message Details

Enter multiple email addresses on separate lines or separate them with commas.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Shamash's picture

Thank you for sharing this short but deep paragraph. I shall endeavour to practice kindness to both myself and those around me.