To support and re-invigorate your commitment to cultivating self-compassion through both formal and informal meditation practice. In this Invitation we are looking at formal practice a little more closely. We invite you to consciously create a space in your home where you can meditate which serves to inspire your ongoing self-compassion practice.
- Your journal and a pen
- Physical objects which evoke for you a sense of reverence, resonance, and joy
- Which unique personality types or characteristics in The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion most resonate with you? As a reminder, these can be found on pp. 196 – 206.
- What are some of the things that hold you back most consistently in terms of your approach (grasping, aversion, restlessness, weariness, agitation, doubt, etc.)? Are there some ways you can name and soften around those familiar friends?
- In what way do you relate with your challenges to formal practice? Are you meeting your experiences “on the cushion” with kindness, or with something else?
- Recall a formal meditation session that you considered uniquely nourishing and fruitful. What was special about that time? Is there some quality of that experience you can use to support you in the future? How did you speak to yourself? And following on from Chris’s discussion, how can you motivate yourself kindly? How can you bring fun, delight and yumminess to your practice?
- Recognizing the value of informal practice, what are some of the informal practices that work in your life?
Once you’ve fully explored the essence and the edges of your meditation practice, you may release the exercise. Or, if you wish, you may continue on to craft a devoted space in your home to support you in your ongoing practice.
One step further…
- If you already have a spot where you most frequently meditate at home, see how you might incorporate a collection of physical objects which will serve as symbols for your core values, longings, and wishes for yourself. This space could exist indoors or outdoors, and you could choose a small table top, a simple shelf, or even a shadow box you can affix to the wall near where you practice.
- Considering your journal exploration above, what intentions, desires, or commitments would you like to represent symbolically in your meditation space? Bring 3 or 4 values to mind as a starting point.
- Begin to collect objects you feel best represent these values in #2. For instance, if you have a commitment to bringing nature into your everyday life as a means of practicing informal meditation, perhaps a small vase with a flower would be a good object to incorporate into your space. If you’re committed to living a creative life, perhaps you can incorporate a beloved paintbrush or photograph you’ve taken. Try if you can to drop into your heart during this collection process, knowing that when you touch an object, you’ll feel in your body whether it belongs in your meditation space. Not every object you include in your space has to have a “reason.” Resonance is enough.
- Continue to feel your way through your home, your yard, a favorite park, a nearby beach, etc. to gather sacred objects for your meditation space. You will know when you have all that you need. If you are unsure, you may choose to simply begin with a stone and a candle.
- If very little comes to mind at first, know that this space is an ever-evolving place, and you can feel free to both add and retire objects as your needs come into clearer focus. As you retire objects from your meditation space, thank them for their presence and support of your practice.