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Lions Roar : September 2017
loving-kindness like a lighthouse around your city, around the country, around the world, even to distant planets. Think, “May all beings far and near, all beings young and old, beings in every direction, be held in great loving-kindness. May they be safe and protected. May they be healthy and strong. May they be truly happy.” The Buddha said that the awakened heart of loving-kindness and freedom is our birthright as human beings. “If these things were not possible,” he said, “I would not teach them. But because they are possible for you, I offer these teachings of the dharma of awakening.” JACK KORNFIELD is a founding teacher at Spirit Rock Insight Medi- tation Center. His new book is No Time Like the Present. SELF-COMPASSION KRISTIN NEFF 1. Put both hands on your heart, pause, and feel their warmth. You can also put your hand anyplace on your body that feels soothing and comforting, like your belly or face. 2. Breathe deeply in and out. 3. Speak these words to yourself, out loud or silently, in a warm and caring tone: This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is a part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need. The first phrase, This is a moment of suffering, is designed to bring mindfulness to the fact that you’re in pain. Other pos- sible wordings are I’m having a really tough time right now, This hurts, or anything that describes the suffering you are experiencing. The second phrase, Suffering is a part of life, reminds you that imperfection is part of the shared human experience. Other possible wordings are Everyone feels this way sometimes, This is part of being human, etc. The third phrase, May I be kind to myself in this moment, helps bring a sense of caring concern to your present-moment experience. Other possible wordings are May I love and support myself right now, May I accept myself as I am, etc. The final phrase, May I give myself the compassion I need, firmly sets your intention to be self-compassion- ate. You might use other words such as May I remem- ber that I am worthy of compassion, May I give myself the same compassion I would give to a good friend, etc. Find the wordings for these four phrases that are the most comfortable for you and memorize them. Then, the next time you judge yourself or have a dif- ficult experience, you can use these phrases as a way of reminding yourself to be self-compassionate. This practice is a handy tool to soothe and calm troubled states of mind. KRISTIN NEFF is a pioneer researcher in the field of self-compassion and author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself.