Compassion Meditation

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For someone to develop genuine compassion towards others, first he or she must have a basis upon which to cultivate compassion, and that basis is the ability to connect to one’s own feelings and to care for one’s own welfare… Caring for others requires caring for oneself.
– Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama
(Inspired by Zindel Segal and Chris Germer)
Start by sitting comfortably, adopting a dignified posture. If it is comfortable, close your eyes.
Noticing with Compassionate Awareness
  • Ask yourself, what are you experiencing right now?
  • Take a moment to notice the thoughts that are going through your mind. Greet them with kindness.
  • What feelings are present? Turn toward any emotional discomfort, responding with compassionate attention.
  • What body sensations do you notice? Do a quick body scan to pick up sensations of tightness, holding, bracing, pain. Greet these as well.
  • If it is comfortable, bring your attention to the sensations of the breath. Welcome each breath with affection.
  • Your breath has been with you since birth. It is your constant companion, always with you, sustaining you.
  • Greet each inhalation and exhalation as you would a dear friend or a beloved child. Let yourself by breathed, held by the breath.
Opening to Compassion
  • Expand your awareness so it includes your body as a whole. Notice any tension, tightness, resistance. Greet whatever arises with kind attention.
  • If you become aware of any parts—harsh, critical, confused, disparaging, angry, sad, despairing—notice where they are broadcasting from the body. No need to fix them or chase them away. Simply notice without judgment.
  • If possible, try to breathe in compassion for any pain, discomfort or suffering, and breathe out compassion for any pain, discomfort, or suffering of any kind.
  • Try this for a few breaths. Breathing compassion in, breathing compassion out
Return to the Three Minute Compassion Space whenever you need it during the day.
Compassionate Being (taken from Sitting Together)
Start by sitting comfortably, finding your seat, and letting yourself settle
Take a few minutes to come into the present moment, anchoring with the breath, sounds, or touch points.
Visualize a safe and serene place—a mountain, the beach, or a beautiful garden. Let this place be a refuge and a sanctuary for you. Let yourself rest here.
Visualize a wise and compassionate being in front of you. This can be a favorite teacher, friend, or family member. It can also be a spiritual guru—perhaps the Buddha, Moses,Jesus Christ, Mohammed, or Kwan Yin, the goddess of compassion. It can even be a pet or other animal or a place in nature.
Become aware of any pain or suffering that you are holding. Take it from within you and hold it in your hands. See it. Feel it. Offer it. Imagine what this being would say or do. What words would he or she offer? How would he or she comfort you? Listen deeply and see what arises. Allow yourself to receive the compassion and wisdom of this being.
Can you feel the love and acceptance from this being? Can you allow yourself to be soothed?
If your mind wanders, bring yourself back to this peaceful place and this compassionate being. Feel that you can take in some of his or her compassion and kindness.
Let this place become an inner resource for you. Know that you can return here whenever you need support or sustenance.
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