Today is World Kindness Day and locally Choose Respect Bunbury continues to share the Choose Kindness message. Their message cards ask us to show some care and to share some kindness. Last year I shared the message to spread seeds of kindness because as the saying goes in a world where you can be anything, be kind. Small acts of kindness can ripple out into our families, communities and the whole world.
I would also like to offer that we need to be kind to ourselves. Self compassion involves treating ourselves with kindness and care, like we would treat a dear friend. Self compassion is a concept derived from Buddhist psychology and involves three components; self kindness, feelings of common humanity and mindfulness. How often to you catch you inner voice being harsh or critical? Practicing self compassion can lead to greater emotional resilience, less self criticism and greater mental health and well being. Self compassion is closely connected to self acceptance and recognising and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. It is hard to love others if you do not love yourself.
The word “metta” means love, friendliness, kindness or loving-kindness. It is an emotion you feel in your heart centre. Consider practicing this short loving-kindness meditation:
Find a comfortable sitting position and begin by placing your hands on your heart.
Take several deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.
Think of someone you love very much, a relative, friend or even a pet.
Tune into the feelings that arise, it might be warmth, tenderness or affection.
Silently say to yourself:
May you be free from suffering
May you be healthy
May you be happy
May you find peace and joy
Breathe in and as you breath out imagine a warm light coming from the centre of your heart.
Then feel metta for yourself. Start by becoming aware of yourself, and focusing on feelings of peace, calm, and tranquillity.
Silently affirm to yourself:
May I be free from suffering
May I be healthy
May I be happy
May I find peace and joy
Allow feelings of self compassion, kindness and caring to fill your heart.
Radiate this feeling of kindness and compassion out to the world.
Source: The Book of Joy