“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
For the past 3 weeks, I’ve been taking a Buddhist meditation class focused on the Brahma Viharas, or the four divine abodes. The first two weeks were dedicated to the first Brahma Vihara, Metta or lovingkindness (which I’ve spoken about). This past week and next, we focus on Karuṇā, or Compassion, the second divine abode. You may be wondering about the difference between the two, but I will save that for a later post.
We must remember that if we are to give compassion to others, we must first be compassionate with ourselves. Today, I urge you to take a moment, notice your breath, and search your depths. Is there anything about yourself–a failure, an insecurity, a bad habit, a negative emotion–for which you are very hard on yourself? When you find that thing, say the following words. I will use ‘anger’ for the example, but insert your own hang-up:
I see my anger. I care about my anger. I desire an end to my anger. May I hold my anger with tenderness.
As with the Metta practice, you do not need to force the words. Simply speak or think them and see what arises. You may be surprised.
May you hold your suffering with tenderness and care.
By Terence Stone
Chief Editor and Founder of Urban Spiritual, I’m a classically trained singer and actor living in New York City, who has performed in the U.S. and Europe. I’m also a writer, traveller, meditator, arts-lover, and well-being enthusiast.