In the last post, I spoke about what compassion meditation is and how it can be beneficial to you and others in the world. Now let’s practice it using these steps as a guide.
1. Take the comfortable position you’ve assumed in other meditations. It may be sitting in a chair, on cushions on the floor, or laying down.
2. Remember that breath is life, and life is controlled by breath. Take a few deep breaths to signal your body to relax and know that it is about to enter into a meditative state. Allow yourself to sink deeper and deeper within the silence that has no sound.
3. In this space, think about someone in your life that you care about already. Visualize this person as you say their name and connect with their presence. Silently offer phrases of compassion to them. Some typical ones are: “May you be free of trouble and sorrow. May you be well and full of joy.” Or the phrase may be specific to what you love about this person.
4. After saying this phrase or phrases for a few minutes, shift the intention toward your inner self and offer phrases of compassion to yourself using similar words. “May I be free of trouble and sorrow. May I be well and full of joy.”
5. After feeling comfortable with saying these phrases, shift your attention to someone you might find difficult. As you allow that person’s face to come into view, notice that your breath may no longer be slow and even. Keep their face before you as you focus on your breath, slowing it down, relaxing and returning to your state of calm. Now, feel their presence and offer the phrases of compassion to them.
6. As you visualize their face, begin to shift the point of view from your eyes looking at them to their eyes looking at you. You might feel the tension or discomfort they feel in this relationship, but just let go of your position and try to see the situation from their perspective. Try to let your viewpoint go entirely, letting it fade into the background for a period of time.
7.Now join with this person as your mind becomes their mind, your heart becomes their heart and see if you can be that person for a time where you can feel them. Feel your hearts connect and as you do that. You will open your heart and mind to a new viewpoint. In this space, you will not only find your compassion for that person, but compassion for yourself as well.
8. Now, focus on this energy flowing between your heart levels. See this as a golden light that flows back and forth between you as the color vibrates purely and with love. As this person begins to fade from your visualization, this warmth and love continues to be felt at your heart level.
9. Now perhaps visualize someone you hardly know. It could be someone you recently passed on the street, in the mall or at the check-out line. Without even knowing them, feel their presence and offer your phrases of compassion to them.
10. Now close your meditation by offering compassion to people worldwide, to all forms of life without any exceptions. “May all beings be free of trouble and sorrow. May all be well and full of joy.”
Studies with the monks that had the most hours of meditation showed the most dramatic brain changes. This strongly suggests that this mental training makes it easier for the brain to turn on circuits that activate compassion and empathy.
“This positive state is a skill that can be trained,” said Professor Davidson, a prominent neuroscience professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Our findings clearly indicate that meditation can change the function of the brain in an enduring way.”
Now let’s see how it can change the world as well! Please email me at [email protected] if you would like to become part of my new study group on compassion meditation. We will be using these steps to meditate on particular days for a period of time.
I will be signing up people for my group over the next month before we begin. You only need to commit a small amount type for this type of meditation to the big difference you can create in yourself and the world!