Compassion for Yourself

"Find a posture in which you can relax and be still. Take a few moments to attend to your body, consciously softening any areas where there is tension or holding. Take a few slightly fuller breaths, with each out breath allowing your mind and body to increasingly relax and soften. With each out breath, release any agitation within your mind. Allow your attention to settle fully within your body and your breath.

"Take a few moments to be aware of the life of your body — how it has been in the past, how it is now in the present, and how it may be in the future. Sense how your body holds all the seasons of life — birth, aging, and death. Reflect on the joy and delight you have found within and through your body. Reflect too on the pain, frailty, and illness that is also part of your body's life. Take a moment to reflect on the painfulness of fear, resistance, and blame you can bring to your body as it goes through its changes. As you open to the life of your body, sense how you are exploring and connecting with the life of all bodies.

"Sense whether it is possible to hold the pain, frailty, and aging of your body within a compassionate attention that is free of blame and rejection. If there is any area of your body that is painful or ill at this moment, bring your attention directly to that place of pain without demand or fear. Offer your body the compassion that can embrace all struggle and suffering.

"May I find healing.
"May I find peace.
"May I find openness of heart.

"As you are present, allow the stories of your body, your fears of the future, to soften and be still. Sense any waves of resistance or aversion for your body that appear. Let them too be held within compassionate attention, rejecting nothing, embracing your body and your relationship to your body with an unconditional tenderness and care.

"May I find stillness within change.
"May I find the acceptance that allows me to be present
"in this body.
"May my body be at peace.

"Allow your attention to expand to embrace the life of your mind in all the ways that you experience it. The times of confusion and chaos, the moments of stillness and calm, the times of obsession and anxiety, the moments of ease and wisdom — let them all be held within a compassionate attention. Sense the moments when your mind seems to be lost within cascades of judgment and blame. Sense too the moments when your mind is an ally and a refuge. Release the blame, the insistence, the demand that you place upon your mind. Sense deeply the great pain and sorrow of a mind not at ease with itself, the torment of being lost in confusion.

"Offer to yourself the compassionate attention that rejects nothing, that is free of blame — the compassion that can receive all sorrow.

"May my mind find peace.
"May my mind be at ease.
"May my mind be safe and protected.

"Allow your attention to expand to embrace the life of your heart. Reflect on the boundless sorrow you can feel in your heart, the world of loneliness, fear, grief, rage, jealousy, loss, and mistrust. Sense too the moments of joy your heart delights in — intimacy, love, tenderness, appreciation, generosity. Be aware of the need to bring compassion into all the moments of turmoil and darkness your heart can hold. Offer to yourself, bring into your heart, the compassion that has no boundaries, that can embrace all sorrow.

"May I find healing.
"May I find the willingness to embrace all pain.
"May I find peace in all moments.

"Moment by moment, open into the places you are prone to flee from or deny within your own body, mind, and heart. Receive the life you are living with a heart of compassion. Soften into the healing that is possible in this moment. Rest in a compassion boundless enough to embrace all sorrow."